Fifth Wednesday Post

The Subnatural Realm: A Speculation

One of the great ironies of the history of ideas is the way that cultures and civilizations go out of their way not to follow up on their greatest intellectual achievements. Look at the trajectory of every great culture, and you’ll find that the supreme breakthroughs of its thinkers don’t happen at the beginning of an arc of intellectual achievement; they happen at the end, just before whatever field of work led to those breakthroughs gets abandoned.

Classical civilization is a case in point.  The great age of classical philosophy reached its zenith and its end with the works of Plato and Aristotle. There were plenty of philosophers after their time, some of them very capable, but nearly all of them backed away uneasily from the program of philosophical research into the nature of reality that started with Thales of Miletus and ended with the two figures just named, and focused on ethics instead. That’s one of the reasons why so many histories of philosophy stop with Aristotle and go from there straight to the Middle Ages, skipping over most of a millennium at a single bound.

Hand them a New York Times editorial and watch them shred it.

Despite its frantic claims of uniqueness, modern Western civilization is no exception to this rule, though its trajectory took a little longer to play out. Western philosophy got a boost from its classical predecessor, after all, and took up the study of logic in the Middle Ages. You can quite easily find historians of philosophy who call the medieval period one of the great ages of research into logic, and for good reason:  your average undergraduate at a European university in 1300 could take most of what passes for logic in modern discourse and pick it apart before breakfast, showing its embarrassing absurdity. (Those of my readers who know what a syllogism is can entertain themselves in the same way, before or after breakfast.)

The heritage of medieval logic was taken up by the founder of modern Western philosophy, René Descartes (1596-1650), and put to work in the service of a grand project. Descartes wanted to figure out exactly what the human mind can actually know by its own powers; he set himself the challenge of doubting everything that he couldn’t prove to himself. He didn’t succeed at that monumentally difficult task, but his efforts and conclusions were impressive enough that other thinkers followed in his track, challenging his ideas while pursuing the same quest.

Immanuel Kant

Fast forward a century and a half packed to the bursting point with important philosophical writings and we reach Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), who was Plato to Descartes’ Thales, and took the philosophical analysis of what the human mind can know to its endpoint. Building on the efforts of his predecessors, he showed that everything we experience is an artifact of our own mental and sensory processes. There’s a real world out there—that was easy enough to demonstrate—but we have no immediate (that is to say, unmediated) access to it.  What’s more, all our experiences have been so thoroughly reworked on the way through our sensory and cognitive processing that it’s accurate to say that we know next to nothing about its objective nature, except what we can infer through roundabout methods such as science.

If you doubt this, dear reader, please talk to a physicist sometime. They’ve gotten very good at the roundabout methods just mentioned, and discovered, for example, that solid objects aren’t really solid—they’re mostly empty space, dotted with minute atomic nuclei and probability clouds of electrical charge. They’ve also discovered that colored objects aren’t really colored—what we call “color” is how our brains process chemical reactions in our retinas set in motion by the tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum we call “light.” I could go on at quite some length, of course. It’s a source of some amusement to me that two hundred years of scientific research proved, among other things, that Kant was right.

It’s when we proceed to the capstone of Kant’s analysis of what the human mind can know about the world that physicists start getting acutely uncomfortable. Kant showed that the considerations I’ve sketched out earlier doesn’t just apply to objects and motions. It also applies to the background against which we experience objects and motions—space and time themselves. He showed that these aren’t objective qualities of existence; instead, they’re basic structures of human consciousness, hardwired into our minds. They are the habits of awareness that make it possible for us to experience things one at a time, each in its own place, instead of getting them all at once, all mashed up together.

Of course this was, and is, not easy to grasp. It’s particularly challenging if you happen to be committed to a view of the world in which space and time are objective realities, rather than subjective and profoundly human structures projected onto the inkblot patterns of the cosmos. If you happen to be a mystic, Kant’s insights come as no surprise; mystics have been aware of this for millennia, because the subjective nature of space and time is one of the things you discover if you turn your attention to your own consciousness using the tools of meditation and contemplation. Europe at  the end of the eighteenth century, however, had a shortage of mystics and a surplus of people whose theories depended on the objective nature of space and time. As a result, most of Western thought since Kant’s time can quite accurately be described as a frantic attempt to ignore the big gray elephant that Kant led into the room.

All this is the necessary prologue to an issue I mentioned in a couple of earlier discussions, and my readers asked me to explore in a post of its own: the existence of a realm we can call the “subnatural,” as distinct from the supernatural, and its interactions with the natural world that we experience directly. If you understand space and time as objective realities, it’s hard to make any kind of sense of the occult teachings about the subnatural realm. Recognize that space and time are conditions of consciousness and it becomes much easier. All you have to do is look at the experience of space and stop taking it in a simplemindedly literal sense. Goethe’s famous saying is apt:  Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis—“All that is transitory is but a symbol.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Our experience of space is twofold. On the one hand, we experience space as distance—the distance from my breakfast table to the study where I’m writing this, the distance from the town where I live to Poughkeepsie, New York, or the distance from the Earth to the Moon. On the other, we experience space as scale.  The distances I’ve just named are all more or less part of what we can call the human scale:  we can understand them in terms of human travel (it takes two dozen steps or so for me to walk to my computer after breakfast; it takes a couple of hours to take the bus at highway speeds to Poughkeepsie; it takes three days at escape velocity to ride an Apollo capsule to the Moon.)

There are other scales that cannot be understood in human terms. Some are too small for us to grasp in anything but a wholly abstract manner—the distance between the nuclei of two cells in your body is on the edge of that, the distance between the nuclei of two atoms in your body is deep into that, and that realm of incomprehensible smallness goes deeper still. Others are too large for us to grasp, again, in anything but a wholly abstract manner—examples are the distance from one star to another, from one galaxy to another, from one cluster of galaxies to another, and so on into incomprehensibility.

Now it so happens that in occult philosophy these differences in scale map onto differences in spiritual quality.  The most obvious form of this is the idea, found in a great many spiritual traditions around the world, that physical matter as we know it is denser and more contracted than the various nonphysical substances that also exist in the cosmos. The spiritual realms, in this way of thinking, are quite literally bigger than the material realm, and not just a little bit bigger; pick up an esoteric Buddhist sutra (I’m thinking here especially of the Mahavairocanasambodhi Sutra, mostly because I recently reread it) and you can expect to encounter dharma realms sketched out on scales of distance that would make astronomers blanch.

With Kant in mind, all this makes immediate sense. Space, from a Kantian perspective, is what separates the experience of different individuals, while time separates different experiences witnessed by the same individuals.  Experiences on the human scale are all experiences that human beings have had, or can have. Experiences on the radically different scales we’ve just been discussing are experiences that we can’t have, and can only babble about in the language of vague abstraction.  They represent realities that brush against ours in subtle ways, realms of being distinct from the one we know, which we can infer by reflecting on our experiences but can never actually encounter directly.

There are, please notice, two categories of such realities, those that are incomprehensibly greater than the human scale and those that are incomprehensibly smaller. Since the human scale includes everything we would normally think of as “nature,” we can refer to these neatly as the supernatural and the subnatural realms. Interestingly, C.S. Lewis made this point in his book Miracles, talking about quantum physics, and the way that subatomic particles violate the standard deterministic scientific notions of nature.  “It would be, indeed, too great a shock to our habits to describe [the behavior of subatomic particles] as super-natural,” he wrote. “I think we should call them sub-natural. But all our confidence that Nature has no doors, and no reality outside herself for doors to open on, would have disappeared. There is something outside her, the Subnatural. … And clearly if she thus has a back door opening on the Subnatural, it is quite on the cards that she may also have a front door opening on the Supernatural.”

Rudolf Steiner

At this point it’s helpful to turn to the work of another thinker, the Austrian philosopher and mystic Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Arguably the most brilliant star in the firmament of classic Western occultism, Steiner (like every thinker) also made his share of mistakes.  These have unfortunately been amplified by a strong fundamentalist streak among followers of his, for whom “Steiner said it, I believe it, that settles it” too often takes the place of thoughtful reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of his teachings.  That’s unfortunate, not least because the sometimes shrill demands for blind obedience to Steiner have convinced a great many people to steer well away from his work.

One of his teachings that stands up very well in practice is his recognition that the simple binary of good vs. evil doesn’t work in practice. As Aristotle pointed out a very long time ago, a virtue is not the opposite of one vice but the midpoint between two: courage is the midpoint between cowardice and heedlessness, generosity the midpoint between stinginess and profligacy, and so on through the catalog of virtues and vices. Steiner, who knew Aristotle inside and out, took this same principle and applied it more generally. He noted that by and large, there are two forms of evil, which he named Ahrimanic evil and Luciferic evil.

I’ve noted in the past that you can understand these with perfect clarity if you know your way around the cultural geography of California. Ahrimanic evil is sheer blind craving for sensory experience and material goodies; its Californian capital is Los Angeles, where everyone is on the make and Don Henley’s song “Gimme What You Got” catches the flavor of life. Luciferic evil is spiritual pride, the conviction that you’re better than everyone else and nothing in the world is good enough for you; its Californian capital is San Francisco, where the self-proclaimed Good People parade their virtue and serenely ignore the consequences of their actions. It would be helpful if Fresno, which is roughly halfway between the two, was a hotbed of the third, balancing factor, which Steiner associated with the Archangel Michael; regrettably Fresno as yet shows no particular sign of rising to any such cosmic destiny.

What makes Ahrimanic and Luciferic evil both so destructive is precisely because neither one of them allows for the whole human being. It’s as though they chopped the archetypal human in half at the neck, leaving Ahriman with a mindless body chasing after instinctual cravings, and Lucifer with a bodiless head sneering at the merely material world. Only in the middle ground is it possible to be a complete human being, and that requires mastering both the Ahrimanic and Luciferic impulses in the self, finding the point of balance between them that allows for freedom.

Steiner had certain other points to make, however. He proposed that the Luciferic impulse comes from the supernatural realm, while the Ahrimanic impulse comes from the subnatural realm. He also suggested that from the perspective of the early twentieth century, when he wrote, the Luciferian impulse mostly belonged to humanity’s past, while the Ahrimanic impulse was a rising trend that would manifest in humanity’s future. He expressed these in mythological forms that many of his followers tend to take very literally.  Understood as visionary experiences rich with symbolism, however, his insights have an important message for the present.

While both the Ahrimanic and Luciferic modes of evil are always with us, it is in fact quite correct that from the perspective of the early twentieth century, the heyday of Luciferic evil was in the past and that of Ahrimanic evil was in the future. Our current crop of Luciferic “Good People,” though their self-righteous posturing is admittedly annoying, can’t hold a candle to the smarmy holier-than-thou brigades of the Victorian era, who turned wallowing in their own imaginary virtue into a fine art.  By the same measure, however, the Ahrimanic culture of the nineteenth century would look practically harmless in today’s mainstream culture. Consider poor Aleister Crowley, who got a reputation as “the wickedest man alive” because he was a bisexual who practiced occultism, wrote sexually explicit poetry, and used drugs. These days? If he showed up at a Lost Angeles party he’d probably be shocked to the soles of his boots.

“When they started with the gerbils, I knew it was time to leave.”

The connection between Ahrimanic evil and the subnatural realm can, however, be understood in a far more precise sense. We experience the subnatural realm in which Ahrimanic evil is at home as far smaller and denser than the natural world we inhabit. Our natural world impinges on the subnatural world, in turn, where subatomic particles interact with phenomena we can perceive. There weren’t many of those back in the day. Now? Most of what counts as advanced technology depends on the behavior of particles on the quantum level. Electronics are a good example—the transistor, the basic building block of modern electronics, relies on quantum effects, and the computer chips that run most of our machines these days are simply vast arrays of incredibly small transistors on a single silicon wafer.

It’s one of the consistent features of Ahrimanic evil, furthermore, that it defines the world in terms of binaries. (Luciferic evil, by contrast, has false unities as its keynote, and the Michael current always resolves unities and binaries into ternaries, threefold patterns of balance.)  To the Ahrimanic mind, it’s always this or that, yes or no, me or you, desirable or hateful…1 or 0. Steiner died before digital computer technology came to the forefront, but it would have given him not a millisecond of surprise that computers reduce everything into binary digits.

If you’ve ever wondered, in other words, why the internet has so pervasive a bias toward blind wallowing in mindless cravings, why pornography remains one of its largest moneymaking sectors, and why people on internet forums so reliably behave like badly behaved dogs unless they’re restrained by effective moderation, let’s just say that there may be reasons for that which stray well outside the materialist worldview. It’s worth considering the possibility that electronic technology has an inherent Ahrimanic bias literally wired into it. It’s not the only such technology—it’s worth noting, for example, that very nearly the first thing that happened once Einstein proposed that mass could be converted into lots of energy was that people in various parts of the world went, “Ooh, cool, you could make a really lethal bomb that way!”—but electronics shapes human interaction far more pervasively than the mostly stillborn technology of nucleonics ever did.

Steiner, again, was ahead of his time. In a lecture he gave in 1921 he described one of his visions of the future: “And from the earth will well up terrible creations of beings who in their character stand between the mineral kingdom and the plant kingdom as automative beings with a supernatural intellect, an immense intellect. When this development takes hold, the earth will be covered, as with a web, a web of terrible spiders, spiders of enormous wisdom, which however, in their organisation don’t even reach the plant status. Terrible spiders which will interlock with each other, which will imitate in their movements all that which humanity has thought of with their shadowlike intellect.”

You have to admit, Steiner called it.

Score one for Steiner. Computer technology can quite accurately be described as midway between the mineral and the plant, more responsive than the mineral without actually being alive in any real sense, and the Earth is indeed covered with their World Wide Web.  There are hard limits to how long this Ahrimanic manifestation (or infestation) can prolong itself, as these “spiders” do in fact “well up from the Earth,” and demand constant inputs of hardware made from rare earth elements and equally constant inputs of energy derived from fossil fuels. (Every server farm receives multiple truckloads of new components every single day to replace the ones that burn out, and require enough electricity to power a midsized town.) None of these resources exist in limitless quantities and many of them are running short right now.

I haven’t yet seen any discussion, among students of Steiner, of resource depletion as an expression of the Michael current, but I hope to see that one of these days. In the meantime, while the internet remains so pervasive in contemporary life, I’d encourage my readers to keep an eye on the Ahrimanic biases the internet places on their contacts with others, and to look for alternative options that don’t stray quite so close to the boundary where our world brushes against the unhuman and antihuman.

290 Comments

  1. “One of his teachings that stands up very well in practice is his recognition that the simple binary of good vs. evil doesn’t work in practice.”

    Where the Zoroastrians and others get it wrong is that they equate Good and Evil as fundamentally equal opposing forces.

    I think what is termed “Evil” is very accurately termed as “Sin” or “Khata” or “missing the mark”.

    Corruption or disharmony like cracks in a window.

    Thereby this “corruption” is parasitic on “Good” for its existence is like how cracks cannot exist without a window.

    For example a murderer to execute his/her murder efficiently would have to not be aborted anytime when he/she is growing up, breathes clean wholesome air, eats clean nutritious food, has good sleep and so on.

    Not that different to how Cancer is parasitic on the Human body.

    But in doing so that person parasites off the wellbeing of others by depriving them of life. The more complex anything is, the more “sin” is possible because there is far more to go wrong.

  2. What is your take on something like the Heideggerian idea that our subjective experience of space and time and color is also part of reality, and can’t be said to be more or less real than probability clouds and wavelengths? People often claim Heidegger was inspired by parts of the West’s mystic tradition, though I’m not sure if he had any relationship to Steiner.

  3. That was terribly interesting to read this morning, thank you JMG! This “chip shortage” reminds me of the Silphium seed, a massive commodity in the ancient world which enriched Cyprus until it was simply depleted (or that’s my understanding of it).

  4. The Anthroposophical Society is quite aware of the issues that you raise about Steiner’s followers. The problem is that the path they are exploring is mostly around copying sad ideas from modern society. For example, the idea that Waldorf schools should have something akin to CEOs.

    It’s the worst of both worlds: being open, yes, but to some of the worse habits of modern society.

  5. Interesting topic and I wasn’t aware of our perception on how we view color. About 20 years ago I watched a fascinating program on PBS regarding Quantum Physics and it discussed a possible 4th dimension, “ORDER”. The program elaborated on why you can leave a drink on a table, come back sometime later and the drink would still be in the same spot. Thoughts?

  6. “Luciferic evil, by contrast, has false unities as its keynote”

    There is false unity. That dissolves distinction, that is anti-multiplicity. I think what Christianity has as to its advantage is the notion of Unity whilst maintaining distinction.

    God is 3 and God is One. Distinct Tri-personality yet sharing the same essence.

    In Theosis neither Humanity or God is compromised even in unity. Jesus is truly Human and truly God.

    Likewise in Sexual Union. Male and Female maintain its distinctiveness. Even as they each participate in the “energies” of their opposite. Somehow being nourished and strengthened in the process.

    The false union negates Sex entirely by abolishing distinction. But such distinctions allows Sex to exist. With each respective strengths and weaknesses.

    Woman is inherently limited, Man is also inherently limited. To abolish boundaries is to abolish categories altogether.

    A false Oneness means the dissolution of Personality or unique wills among people. But doing so actually in the Christian worldview would be a destruction of the “Images of God” that every human being is created to possess. The NPC is basically a dissolution of that:

    https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/npc-wojak

  7. Yikes, Steiner predicted Skynet?! This was fascinating, thank you very much.

    I do wonder about Steiner’s suggestion that Luciferic evil belonged to the past, Ahrimanic evil to the future. Granted, in recent history binary thinking has been the biggest driver of human viciousness. But on the theory that we’re slowly working our way up from meat puppets to have a mental body, our distant ancestors probably weren’t smart enough to have spiritual pride, were they? Evil in chimps, our closest relatives agreed to be living, involves killing, raping, or mutilating each other over primitive interests that serve the body. It seems to me that if individuals have to get past that stage in order to start manifesting a “higher” Luciferic evil, societies over time ought to move toward the Luciferic as more individuals get past that stage. Or if not, why not?

  8. And the words that certain feminists like to use: “We can do anything that men can do. ”

    Has effectively abolished the notion of Sex altogether:
    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/21834-women-are-always-saying-we-can-do-anything-that-men-can

    Because Sex has inherent definitions and limitations that give such reality “form”. As is our existence as “Human” is inherently limited that gives us form.

    It is effectively the validation of transgenderism. Including males taking hormones to try to imitate the opposite sex. Or even attempt to “give birth”.

    Whilst being XY. A biological male.

  9. Love this. I cannot keep up with your brave intellect and voice – have you published similar thoughts on Steiner? Or do you plan to? I need to be able to read and reread without tech appliances.
    I’m still personally fathoming ‘the mystery of Golgotha’, Michael, and the two evils. Also, I long for more of your thoughts about Edgar Cayce.
    You are so good at simplifying and at the same time detailing essentials.
    I thank you.

  10. “It’s when we proceed to the capstone of Kant’s analysis of what the human mind can know about the world that physicists start getting acutely uncomfortable. Kant showed that the considerations I’ve sketched out earlier doesn’t just apply to objects and motions. It also applies to the background against which we experience objects and motions—space and time themselves. He showed that these aren’t objective qualities of existence; instead, they’re basic structures of human consciousness, hardwired into our minds. They are the habits of awareness that make it possible for us to experience things one at a time, each in its own place, instead of getting them all at once, all mashed up together.”

    I’ve always found it fascinating that scientists get so uncomfortable with this, because this is also what Einstein showed with relativity: space and time are not objective features of the universe, but can only be known about within a specified reference frame: the distance from the Earth to the Moon, for example, changes depending on how fast you travel; time in orbit passes at a slightly different rate than here on Earth (a factor which needs to be taken into account for GPS), and there is no common “now”, with each bit of the universe experiencing a different moment in time; or rather, a different combination of moments, since the light from each and every star in the night sky has reached us from a different distance in space and time, and those will differ from world to world.

    Einstein’s work also demonstrated that if you can ever travel faster than light, that is functionally the same as time travel, and at no point have tachyons (particles which always move faster than light) been shown to be impossible, or even unlikely for any reason, which implies that there may very well be particles in the universe which can be used to send information back in time, thus allowing causes to follow their effects. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, in fact, if it turns out they have all sorts of weird effects on the physical world.

  11. I am not going to oppose the idea of balance threefoldness. But sometimes the framing can be very deleterious. For example, in politics, centrism tends to mean the Clintons…

  12. “All that is transitory is but a symbol” Yes!!
    That’s amazing. I have been wrapping my mind around that idea of recent. As usual I thought I came to that idea alone; then quickly seeing that idea already present in the philosophies of antiquity. So it goes.
    Everything we can see, feel, touch, smell is an edge or a crest. A symbol of something beyond those senses.
    Furthermore all edges are urges hedged in by all the other edges of urge’s, giving them their form. The reason why a tree branch doesn’t keep growing and growing and why it has its particular shape is that it is restricted by the availability of its area of expression and the influence of the edges of everything else, creating the what we perceive as tree. The tree is an expression of the whole cosmos.

    Thanks once again mate!

  13. Wow! Extraordinary explanation to my limited intellect….But does Buckminster Fuller fit in here somewhere near Steiner? Fuller recommended changing “Either/Or” into “Both/And”…Your essay was breath taking like a fast roller-coaster ride!

  14. There are base 3 computers, but the story is that they were less ‘efficient’ than the binary, which is why we are stuck with the 1’s and 0’s today. While an early calculating machine using ternary was built way back in 1840 by Thomas Fowler (made of wood no less!), Soviet researchers back into the 1950s built a number of ternary computers but for various reasons they never became commercially viable.

    The trinary logic goes something like -1,0,1 (a balanced ternary) or 0,1,2 (an unbalanced ternary). I’m guessing that Ahrimanic would be -1 and Luciferic 1? There’s now speculation about building quaternary computers but that’s a little beyond me. I’m just not geeky enough to judge how doable any of this is.

  15. John–

    Given that we often speak of (true) unities–for example, as one moves up the planes–how does one distinguish between a “true” unity and a “false” one? (Of course, it depends on how we define “true” and “false,” I suppose, and then we’re bringing a binary back into the mix.)

  16. JMG, I think this might be among your best essays ever. Please explain, what is the “Michael current’?

    The “you are with us or against us” mindset does give its’ practitioners considerable force. The devil takes care of his own? (As does Ares, witness the way in which his neo-
    con devotees continue to infest our government, despite being
    cordially despised by anyone not of their faction.) I would like to
    hear from anyone with good ideas about how to live a peaceable and
    honorable life while surrounded by people who seem to be defined, and define themselves, by anger and appetite.

    JMG, I do understand, your blog, your rules, but I have no intention of logging in with either facepaint or tweetiebird, or whatever is the W. I suppose you must have a reason for adding the annoying black box with the log in message?

  17. For those who love books, I’m reminded of several: Eames/Morrison – “Powers of Ten” Tarhtang Tulku – “Time Space and Knowledge” R Steiner – “The Tension Between East and West” H D F Kitto, “The Greeks” Umberto Eco “The Name of the Rose” G Bateson “Mind and Nature, a Necessary Unity” and in my opinion, the greatest philosopher of all time, Tendzen Gyatso “Kindness, Clarity, and Insight”. The last has a chapter on the Prasangika Mhadyamika and compares that school to the Mhadyamika school of philosophy. Is this not an analysis and synthesis of the problem of being and non-being? Does it not build on Nagarajuna’s Middle Way and Interdependent Origination propositions? By the way, I would say a similar thing was done in a non-scholastic way in “The Vimalakiriti Sutra” I forget who translated that many Moons ago, but it was a real hoot.

    Thanks for strengthening my resolve to take a vacation from this little machine and the web.

  18. The Internet is not just one massive thing that is either Ahrimanic or Luciferic. It can be used, with attention and deliberation, for positives, such as reading this excellent essay. Understanding the inherent characteristics of any medium gives one the opportunity of interpreting experiences within those parameters and taking them into consideration in their use, just as we do with “real” life.

    This essay paves the way to much thought. Thanks.

  19. Fascinating. I’ll need to think about this.

    Also, in the paragraph about Crowley, you refer to “Lost” Angeles, which was probably unintentional, but funny nonetheless.

  20. Hmmm…..

    New insight into why the (more efficient & less costly) ternary computing logic didn’t catch on!

  21. Been reading you regularly JMG since early ADR days. Your work continually reveals how limited my understanding of the world is, and how often firm beliefs are wrong. I am so deeply grateful.

  22. One thing that always disappointed me about electronic music is how fast it became dark, brooding, depressing and focused on overt sexual themes.

    Synthesizers were used in “A Clockwork Orange” just a few years after they became available. Mind you, a lot of good music can come from synthesizers, but it seems to attract those who wish to focus on the dark side, like Trent Reznor.

  23. I have to admit I was not expecting this post to go the way it did from the title, but it was an excellent and insightful read. As synchronicity goes, I’ve been engaging more deeply with classic western occult philosophy, and Kant and Steiner have of course been mentioned as essential. Where do you suggest a student should start with reading these two authors?

  24. “It would be helpful if Fresno, which is roughly halfway between the two, was a hotbed of the third, balancing factor, which Steiner associated with the Archangel Michael; regrettably Fresno as yet shows no particular sign of rising to any such cosmic destiny.”

    I like to imagine that Brian Kenney Fresno, with his guitar of Warr and his chapman stick of destiny, is that third, balancing factor. His song “Generator” even addresses collapse, with which Fresno is quite familiar. https://briankenneyfresno.bandcamp.com/track/generator

    Thanks for this fascinating speculation, JMG!

  25. Dear Archdruid,
    Just find it very interesting that Archangel Michael is the patron saint of Kyiv and is also at the center of the coat of arms of Kyiv (he was replaced with chestnut leaves during Soviet era).

  26. I agree almost all the time with the views you express in your blogs, JMG, but here is an exception:

    ‘colored objects aren’t really colored—what we call “color” is how our brains process chemical reactions in our retinas set in motion by the tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum we call “light.”’

    Two points to explain why I disagree with this:

    Firstly, I see no reason to view the subjective experience of “colour” as being ontologically “lightweight” (no pun intended) compared to its physical ‘explanation’. I put the word ‘explanation’ in quotes because it actually doesn’t even explain, for example, the felt redness of red or blueness of blue, in any way that would enable a colour-blind person to understand what it’s like to see colour. So, instead of saying “coloured objects aren’t really coloured” I would shift the “aren’t really” to the other end and say “explanations of colour aren’t really explanations – they’re just a kind of appendage or excuse dangling underneath the ontologically far more weighty subjective phenomenon”.

    But, you will say, my subjective definition still means that colour doesn’t inhere in the object seen; all the object is doing is impacting our retinas with reflected wavelengths of light which we then experience as colour.

    To which I object as follows: the process described as “object giving off light and being translated into colour by subject” is misleadingly analytical. For convenience’s sake we think of reflected light “travelling” from object to eye, but to the photon itself (if you can imagine being a photon) the ride is instantaneous. I do not think it meaningful to regard any real intermediacy as being involved; I reckon that seeing, therefore, is a kind of direct touching. Why then not regard our perception of colour as a real quality of the toucher as well as the touched, since in a dynamic sense they are all one?

    I realize that we’re into deep water here insofar as people will object that what’s one colour to us may be another colour to a bee or to an alien from Sirius. But I regard qualitative experiences as a kind of indefinite integral – that’s to say, a summation of all ways of seeing a thing that have ever occurred. So to me it is no objection if nobody sees the whole story.

  27. An interesting post. Do you make a connection between the sub-natural and the telluric current, and the supernatural and the solar current?

    Maverick physicist Julian Barbour explored a similar notion of time in his book “The End of Time.” Apparently he was making his living doing translations from Russian, so he was free to go off in his own theoretical directions.

  28. This is interesting – we actually may harmess “demonic” (i`m sorry for my ignorant occultism-layman language) forces by using electronics, especially microelectronics / contemporary computers ?

    I want to add the idea that not ony does (as you suggest) “evil” leaks from the subnatural real in the natural / human realm – ALSO we transfer so amount of energy from the natural in the subnatural realm every time the microtransistor does something.

    This energy my have varios effects in the subnatural realm.

    It may also act as a sort of “feeding trough”, bait and / oder beacon that lures / guides forces or / and enteties to our realm. This may encourage the subnatural to be “compliant”, at least seemingly, to our attempts to harness and instrumentalise it. Weird feedback loops may occur.

    The concept of “artificial intelligence” sounds now even more creepy seen in this light….

    i`m not sad that the “computerisation” of our planet will shift in reverse in the near future due to rising energy cost and demand destruction.

    But for some time, if the subnatural realm appreciates our energy transfers, a STRONG resistance of “ahrimanian” forces against the downsizing and pruning of the internet !

    Maybe i deliverd some inspiration for future posts or even someones SciFi-Novel here 😉 !

    May the gods bless You !

  29. Wonderful post as usual, thanks very much for sharing!

    I had a handful of (hopefully) brief questions, if I might:

    1. I presume that “The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman: Human Responsibility for the Earth” would be the place to go if I were interested in learning more about Steiner’s views on this subject?

    2. You mention that what makes Ahrimanic (or Luceferic) impulses *evil* is that they cut you off from the other half of your person. If I may, I’d like to check my understanding on this a bit:

    In the case of the Ahrimanic, pursuit of sensory stimulation only becomes evil when it begins to shove aside other important things like love, loyalty, or generosity. A simple example to make things concrete: the drive for sex is neither good nor bad. Seeking a substitute for it in the form of constant use of porn is bad because it isolates you and stops you from using your time for other things and so forth. A balanced ternary would be finding a loving relationship with a healthy sex life.

    Have I got that about right?

    3. Would the sub-natural realm be considered another plane that we don’t (and won’t) have access to in our spiritual evolution, or is it just an especially dense part of the material plane that is well outside the scale our current bodies are capable of properly grasping?

    Thanks very much,
    Jeff

  30. Just thinking that social media in particular tends to be a hotbed of virtue signalling and holier-than-thou posturing. Maybe the internet supports a tendency to go extremes. (All the porn, all the time, vs. social media posts proclaiming ‘I got vaccinated’, I donated to x charity, or decrying whatever it is the poster dislikes about the world this particular morning).

    The internet is also useful for organizing on all sorts of issues. Or as a source for church music or way to learn new skills of all kinds. That doesn’t really seem either Ahrimanic or Luciferic to me, depending on the skill. Just useful and good. I will miss it when it’s no longer available to me. But I could probably stand to spend substantially less time on the net, and I would find other ways to obtain sheet music and learn new skills if I had to.

  31. Oh my gosh! Great essay! I realized halfway through that the Ahrimanic is a toxic Uranus/Chokmah, the division of the one, the single cell first becoming two, and that Luciferix is a toxic Neptune/Kether, all integrating, a dissolving cloud of confused self satisfaction without distinction. How typical then, that women are overrepresented in the modern Good People, given that false unities are inherently receptive, and men are overrepresented in our combative netizen wankers, given that binaries encourage conflict, materialism, and a harsh, over focused conception of reality. How fascinating too that as Luciferic evil has declined, women have demanded access to men’s (Ahrimanic) roles, and now are even unhappier than men on a statistical level. A lot of ppl say women are just unhappy with men’s roles in general, but perhaps this is a clue that there is something else going on, that Ahrimanic evil is really the culprit rather than simple gender essentialism. Aha, I just realized that is a ternary! One side of religious rigidity, gender role essentialism. Other side, lefties, it’s all capitalism and exploitation. Balanced viewpoint: precisely at the midpoint between capitalism and gender roles is the over-masculine, materialist degradation of the Ahrimanic that both encompasses and transcends both ideas.

    The Ahrimanic idea gains some more credence and resonance when one remembers that Angra Mainyu/Ahriman is the devil of Zoroastrianism, Zurvanism, and most preIslamic Iranian religion; all highly colored by dualism, binaries, an extreme focus on the masculine, and conflict as cosmic destiny! Steiner seems to have both seen deeply, and done his research.

    -Derpherder

  32. JMG
    These two types of evil remind me of your statement that the opposite of a bad idea is another bad idea.

    Some time ago you gave some recommendations for how to reduce the amount of time spent using devices such as televisions. It was something about sharpened steel placed near the offending device. At the time I was annoyed at the TV my wife kept in the bedroom. I taped a single sewing needle to the back of it, and after a few months we stopped watching that TV. It has been a few years and that TV is relegated to a shelf in the basement where it sits unused. I should drag it off to be recycled but I don’t notice its existence most of the time. I need to get more needles.

    A book recently recommended to me is Donald Hoffman’s “The Case Against Reality”. I’ve only read the introduction and seen his TED talk so I’m not sure what conclusions he draws, but he makes the case that what we perceive as reality is really just the user interface for a deeper and essentially unknowable reality. He stresses that this doesn’t make the user interface inconsequential, it is simply that the interface isn’t objective reality.

  33. @Kyivan idk if Ukraine wants an Archangelic ternary. Russia: we’ll win. Ukraine/NATO, no we. Midpoint: lots of suffering, a dismembered country, no one really succeeds 100 percent. There is a reason why conflict is binaristic: some areas of human life necessitate focused, violent simplicity.

    -Derpherder

  34. Dear JMG,
    Fascinating speculations! Been thinking about non electronic modes of communication and information archive/retrieval (such as a paper newsletter and index cards as respective examples.) Having limits on their efficiency and scale compared to their electronic counterparts actually seem to be benefits. They slow us down, they force us to pay closer attention, etc. Maybe they better unite our minds with the material at hand and even allow a more natural connection to the minds of others. Wonder if something else about paper and ink, beyond sentiment, is at work? Thanks.

  35. Info, that is to say, the Zoroastrian theology of evil differs from your theology of evil. Gotcha.

    Adam, as usual, Heidegger is engaged in handwaving. Do subjective experiences exist, as subjective experiences? Sure, and in that sense, they’re real. Does that give them the same kind of reality as the things of which they’re subjective reflections? No. Look into a mirror; the reflection of you in that mirror unquestionably exists, but that doesn’t prove that there’s another you on the other side of the glass. It’s simply a property of your body that it can be reflected in mirrors.

    Benjamin, you’re quite correct. Silphium was an effective means of birth control when used as a vaginal suppository, and so not merely Cyprus but the whole Mediterranean world was stripped bare of the plant and as far as anyone knows it’s wholly extinct.

    Ahriman, that’s really sad. One of these days somebody, or more likely a group of somebodies, needs to tackle the challenge of making sense of Steiner in the light of the rest of occult tradition, noting where he ran off the rails and where his insights stand. Max Heindel and George Winslow Plummer both made a start on that project in this country, and there were others in England and elsewhere who did the same, but not enough of them.

    Rod, it seems strange to me that they would define order, which is a property of some experiences, as a dimension. Hmm.

    Info, well, Steiner was a Christian, you know. An eccentric Christian, but a Christian…

    Apteryx, oh, no doubt we’ll cycle back to Luciferic evil in due time, just as there have been other periods when Ahrimanic evil was in the ascendant — the Roman Empire in its heyday comes to mind. Steiner tended to interpret his visions in extreme terms, as referring to unparalleled historical transformations; I suspect myself that most of them make more sense when read on a smaller and more local scale.

    Jenny, you’re most welcome. No, I haven’t tackled the job of writing at length about Steiner yet. I still have a lot of his work to reread, ponder, and meditate on. Cayce’s another figure of the same kind — and I recently found out that one of my late teacher John Gilbert’s teachers, Dr. Juliet Ashley, was a student of Cayce and has several readings by him in the ARE files. So he’s in my lineage!

    Liam, I know. You can tell that Einstein knew his way around German philosophy! The difficulty, of course, is that the entire mythology of progress is dependent on the notion of time as a linear objective reality — how can you progress endlessly if time isn’t really going anywhere? — and most of the overhyped triumphs of modern technology are ways of moving through space — and how does that matter if space is just a subjective framework of experience?

    Ahriman, it’s a classic move in contemporary politics to insist that the whole political spectrum extends from X to Z, and that Y is therefore centrist and moderate. The Clintons are among the practitioners of that dishonest but effective game. Suggest something closer to the actual center — say, L or M — and watch their reaction!

    Travis, excellent! It’s not a new insight, but it’s a very important one, and it’s one that our entire culture spends huge amounts of effort trying to keep people from realizing.

    Alice, okay, that’s a mashup I need to try sometime; I’ve got Synergetics and several other Fuller books in my collection, and sometime I’ll see if I can find common ground between them.

    Pygmycory, you’re welcome.

    Jeanne, interesting. I wonder if there are any Anthroposophical tech geeks reading this — building a ternary computer and engaging in cybernetic threefolding sounds like a worthy project for them!

    David BTL, a false unity is a unity that surreptitiously excludes things that it claims to include. Think of the way Biden says “the whole world objects to Russia’s behavior” when what he means is “a handful of nations that agree with me object to Russia’s behavior”:

    That’s a false unity.

    Mary, as I noted in the post, Steiner held that in this age of the world, the balancing force of good between Ahrimanic and Luciferic evil is associated with the archangel Michael; that current of force is therefore called the Michael current. As for the log in message, it’s there for the convenience of those who do want to log in that way.

    Mark, you could certainly interpret it that way. It’s been a while since I studied Madhyamika but yes, I’ve studied it.

    Michael, that’s the standard rhetoric of those who claim that technology is ethically neutral. I argue that this kind of thinking makes it impossible to notice the inherent biases present in every technological suite, including the one we call “the internet.” That suite has moral biases that match up very precisely with the set of distortions Steiner referred to as “Ahrimanic,” and even with careful management — of the sort I try to provide here — those biases inevitably seep through.

    Steve, it was unintentional, but I’ve decided to leave it!

    Dbtazzer, you’re most welcome.

    Old Steve, I’ve just downloaded a paper on ternary computing. Maybe it could be revived!

    Raymond and Yves, you’re most welcome and thank you.

    Jon, that’s an excellent point, and another data point for the Ahrimanic nature of electronics.

    Kwo, I recommend beginning Kant at the deep end, with The Critique of Pure Reason. With Steiner, I recommend beginning with How To Know Higher Worlds and A Road to Self-Knowledge.

    Monster, ha! I could see that.

    Kyivan, praying to him is probably a good idea. I note, interestingly, that he’s also the patron saint of Brussels, the capital of the EU.

    Robert, no, that won’t work. The mere fact that the photon is in a frame of reference outside of time doesn’t mean that the effect it has on your retina is the same as the object it bounced off a fraction of a second earlier (in your frame of reference); much less that the chemical changes in your retinas, the cascade of nerve firings in your optic nerves, the intricate processing that goes on in your optic thalamus and hindbrain, and the further cognitive processing that goes on in your mind all produce something that’s identical to the object. Our cognitive process is a Heath Robinson contraption in which a great deal of gimmickry separates the input from the output!

    Phutatorius, good. Yes, in my view Ahrimanic evil is what happens when the telluric current is distorted and cut off from its balancing solar force, and Luciferic evil is what happens when the solar current is distorted and cut off from its balancing telluric force.

    Petit bourgeois, yes, all those are points that follow from this.

    Jeff, (1-2) yes. (3) The sources available to me differ about that. My guess is that it’s a separate plane, but that’s a guess.

    Pygmycory, the prevalence of Luciferic virtue signaling online is an interesting point. Is the excess of Ahrimanic influence producing a Luciferic backlash, or what?

    Derpherder, thank you. Yes, that would follow!

    Piper, glad to hear that the counterspell worked. I’ll have to glance at Hoffman; I wonder if he knows that he’s covering ground that Western philosophers reached three centuries ago, and Indian philosophers covered three millennia ago.

    Daniel, quite possibly! That’s an interesting synchronicity, as the main character in a fiction project I’m working on right now will be pursuing similar low-tech interests.

  36. Excellent article John!

    From a Cabalistic point of view, is the Qliphoth the sub-natural realm itself, a part of it, or a completely different place?
    You have also talked in the past that demons – the citizens of the Qliphoth – are unable to understand/express logical statements, having the ‘2+2-equals-Petunia’ mindset. For all its limitations and dangers, the sub-natural binary system looks logical enough (This or That, 1 or 0, Yes or No). The ‘Petunia mindset’ doesn’t seem to chime with the Luciferian Pride or the Ahrimanic ‘lust’: I’d be almost tempted to call it ‘Azazothian Madness’! (Thinking of Lovecraft’s Azazoth, not yours 🙂 )

    Am I way off mark?

    Many thanks,

    Manuel

  37. This post gave an answer to a question I’ve long wondered about: why, as a person with a “good” education by today’s lights, I learned a lot about Plato and Aristotle (nothing at all about the pre-Socratics) and then started up again at… Kant, pretty much.

    I’ve long been on the lookout for a good “survey of medieval philosophy”, if anyone can recommend one? I tried the Oxford VSI but it was truly abysmal (I’ve had uneven luck with those: some are terrific, others godawful). James J. Walsh’s _The Thirteenth, the Greatest of Centuries_ was a great read (it’s from 1907, but reads really well even today) but is an overview of so many things it doesn’t cover philosophy in depth.

  38. Hi JMG,

    A very interesting post! Part of my concern with the internet is it presents too many options at any given moment, it has the same “potential” quality that money has this way. Somehow, it falsely presents these potentials as present in every moment, in a way that erodes them. I think of it as a poor substitute for reality as a result.

    What you’ve written here has much to bring into the picture, but certainly one concerning thing is that a person can dive into simulations of very intense experiences at any moment – it’s not just a “Friday night thing”. That these are almost real, but ultimately not real, seems like it lines right up to the first part of your definition of Ahrimanic evil, “sheer blind craving for sensory experience”, and would likely amplify the part that exists in reality, in the host, the “sheer blind craving”.

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  39. Thanks for this subject/essay, John Michael!!!

    I had suggested as topic for 5th week, solutions for the crazy direction humanity/geopolitic is taking…

    Well, you put your finger on exactly what I “sense/vision” is the solution… An hability for human beings to “perceive” the sub-natural and super-natural and be able to “manipulate” it to create a better reality for him/herself.

    That would be “control” or rather “co-operating with intent” to direct the sub/super-natural.
    That is the solution to over-come AGI and tech advancement (Ahrimanic) which is taking us over RIGHT NOW.
    Hope there are a few humans AWAKE enough to guide us… You’re one of them WHO KNOW and help us SEE through your great education and writings.
    It’s up to us to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE the tools that open the doors to that sub/super-natural.
    Thank You for your wisdom and sharing.
    Gabriel.

  40. Interesting piece. I recently read a bunch of books by one of Steiner’s followers who went on and on about Luciferian vs. Ahrimanic evil, and this was a lot clearer than anything he wrote (though I don’t doubt he’s a genuine mystic, just not a clear communicator.)

    I’ll comment on one tiny piece: space and perception.

    JMG and many readers who meditate have probably had an experience like this: you’re meditating in a point in your body, and suddenly it’s two feet a way from where it should be.

    (This is fairly easy to induce if you haven’t have it. Put your attention on the tip of your nose (not the breath there, the tip) and return to it every time you notice you lose it. Do enough sessions and eventually it will happen.)

    People who are more advanced meditators than me tell me that you eventually find, in meditation, that all space collapses to a single point.

    The model I use most often (which I’ve confirmed works) is that your mind puts in three main layers of body sensation: where it is, the hedonic feeling, the non hedonic feeling. (Hedonic meaning feeling good or bad. This where the suffering is if you’re in pain.)

    Concentrate hard enough on any of the three and other two start cutting out. You can do this with pain, enough concentration on the non-hedonic feeling of a pain and suddenly the pain cuts out, and weirdly, it actually feels pretty good.

    Every perception is is a creation of the mind. It’s interpreting something that’s there, but the interpretation is very real and various arts of meditation let you change how you perceive and thus experience the world (or more accurate, how you experience the senses.)

    At the end, with the right work you see that time and space are creations, and suffering becomes a choice. It’s the human body/brain (+other bodies, but still bodies) which creates the style of world we inhabit, and the art of the enlightenment interested mystic in certain traditions (certainly Therevada style Buddhism) is to disaggregate and then put things back together in ways that are both a lot more comfortable and, often, a lot more accurate.

  41. Hi JMG,

    This is a great discussion of a critical topic; thank you.

    During Lent of this year, I did an extended fast from screen technology. I also took detailed notes of my experiences, paying particular attention to the way that the fast affected my consciousness. You and others here may find my discussion of the experience interesting; I talked at length about the idea of the digital world at an expression of the Sub-Natural–

    https://readoldthings.dreamwidth.org/67654.html

    In my writing on this topic, I’ve been using Christian mythic imagery and the traditional Christian fasting seasons. The former appeals to me as I’m a confirmed Catholic and ordained to minor orders in an ISM church; the latter is a “track in space” which greatly aids the will. But I strongly recommend the Screen Fast to everybody, specifically as a way of disconnecting from the Sub-Natural, from the web and its spiders (Steiner really did get there first, didn’t he?).

    Traditionally, Christians in various denominations set one, two, or three days aside for fasting in addition to at least 3 major fasting periods throughout the year– Lent, “Saint Michael’s Lent” (the 40 days preceding Michaelmas), and Advent. There are also the Ember Days, which were traditional fasts specifically intended to align the Christian with the energies of the incoming season. All these can be devoted to technology fasting– that is, to rising from the Sub-Natural to the Natural, rather than from the Natural to the Super-Natural as with meat fasting.

    Members of other traditions can easily find opportunities in their sacred calendars to do the same. For Druids, the days around the actual solstices and equinoxes– and potentially the cross quarter days as well– can stand in place of the Ember Days. Saturday works well as a screen-fasting day both because it works for many of us in relation to the secular calendar and because of its association with the Earth Mother. Three fasts with dates drawn from the solar cycle or another suitable calendar can stand in place of the Christian fasts. And members of other faiths can find their own appropriate fasting seasons. But it is a practice that I strongly recommend to everyone. I’m not sure if it’s because the disconnection allowed me to see it more clearly or if it’s because things are getting worse– and I’m aware of how dangerous a thing this can be to say– but the people who spend too much time connected to technology seem less and less human to me all the time.

  42. Hi JMG,

    Mostly off topic with regards to this post, but I came across this guy, Aaron Fletcher, whom I thought you might be interested in (if you didn’t know of him already!). I discovered him on a youtube interview which in many ways has more information than this article, but wanted to share his story in a more appropriate format, so found this article that covers some of the same ground:

    https://thepremierdaily.com/man-lives-offgrid-with-sheep/

    This is his website too, which is interesting and shows some of his other projects:

    https://123homefree.org/

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  43. Something here scratched an itch…if I remember right, about how among the Platonists the intelligible realm is more real whereas the sensible realm is more diminished (almost the reverse of what our modern materialist assumptions are, in that the material world is regarded as “real” whereas anything that is “not” is regarded as either an illusion or as emergent, implicitly contingent and secondary).

    Also makes me think of the Neoplatonist sense of evil as privation or non-existence, although this sensibility would seem to be undermined when we contemplate the very real horrors and outrages visited upon creatures of all kinds.

    Some of the desert monks seem to make a similar distinction as that above, distinguishing sins prompted by the passions vs. those connected with pride (with pride).

    I reckon the “subnatural” is where the idea of (evil) daemons as being “more material” comes in…

    Axé

  44. As a public service announcement to readers whom may have younger children be careful in explaining the weirdness of subatomic science. I was talking with my oldest about the difference between perception of reality and the apparent physical reality at a small scale specifically in regards to forces happening over a distance. This included that atoms (as science understands them) never touch* the forces happen when there is still gaps between what might be considered solid. This was of course picked up between siblings as no matter what “I am not touching you!”

    *yes I am way oversimplifying

  45. John, interesting that RS used the spider imagery considering the fact that the coding that makes SEO possible (search engine optimization) is referred to as “the spiders”.

  46. Great essay! The caption beneath Crowley’s pic had me rolling in the aisles. He didn’t have the faintest clue about how to be a True Edgelord® compared to our ubiquitous postmodern bath salt sniffers with pierced and tattooed everything (including eyeballs!) of the early twenty first century. Not to mention those poor gerbils…

  47. Piper at the Gates wrote

    A book recently recommended to me is Donald Hoffman’s “The Case Against Reality”. I’ve only read the introduction and seen his TED talk so I’m not sure what conclusions he draws, but he makes the case that what we perceive as reality is really just the user interface for a deeper and essentially unknowable reality. He stresses that this doesn’t make the user interface inconsequential, it is simply that the interface isn’t objective reality.

    That reminds me a lot of physicist David Bohm’s concept of the implicate order.

  48. Amazing. So much to digest here.

    I will start with C.S.Lewis who I have recently discovered and seriously dived into.

    JMG – “What makes Ahrimanic and Luciferic evil both so destructive is precisely because neither one of them allows for the whole human being. It’s as though they chopped the archetypal human in half at the neck, leaving Ahriman with a mindless body chasing after instinctual cravings, and Lucifer with a bodiless head sneering at the merely material world.”

    I think Lewis would say the man was cut at the neck and waist leaving him, a”a man with no chest”. The necessary mediator of the heart to find and balance the innate wisdom of the two.

    I like how you have brought us back to the opposite of a bad idea is another bad idea and the wisdom of the middle. The ‘middle way’ of Buddhism. The tie to St. Micheal is new to me and I must dig into. Anything more you can offer on that perspective would be appreciated.

    I can not believe how much you pull together and give us in these post. Thank You:)

  49. If Fresno did rise to its cosmic destiny it’d make an interesting addition to Mike Davis’ series of books on weird California geography. 🙂

    It’s probably not a good sign that closer to the halfway mark between Los Angeles and San Francisco are the prison complexes of Corcoran and Coalinga (guess who’s been reading Golden Gulag).

  50. Transistors do depend upon quantum interactions to operate. But so do such phenomena as human vision (and olfaction), photosynthesis, respiration, the sun’s production of heat and light, and the fact that atoms bond with one another to produce molecules and chemical reactions, not to mention holding together as stable elements in the first place.

    Calling something that underlies and maintains all material existence as we know it subnatural, well, that’s arguably just as good a name as any. But associating it with a particular kind of evil… kind of reminds me of all those classic SF stories where the masses who toil underground to maintain the very existence of some dystopian society are held in contempt by their surface- (or cloud-) dwelling masters for their supposed mindlessly pleasure-seeking animalistic natures. (Those proles, for their part, see plenty of Luciferic evil in the elites’ indifference or cruelty. So there’s a complete polarity there, a closed circuit if you will. But doesn’t it always turn out to be based on projection rather than truth?)

    The other issue that makes me question your speculation is that for instance a NAND gate (a sufficient building block for any and all digital logic) does the same thing regardless of whether it’s implemented by transistors, vacuum tubes, electromechanical relays, hydraulic valves, or (in principle) massive cogs and levers hand-hewn from hickory logs. The same is true of assemblages of many such elements. The main difference is, the transistorized ones on microcircuits do it a lot faster and in enormously larger numbers. So mightn’t those characteristics, rather than quantum interactions per se, be the characterizing qualities of the subnatural? Small, fast, numerous, and massively parallel is true of all the quantum processes I mentioned in the first paragraph, but it’s also true of other not-directly-quantum processes like fluid flow, sound transmission, weather, and genetics.

    Attributing the harm done by the Internet to the functionality of microchips seems to me akin to attributing the harm done by, say, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to the chemical composition of the ink used to print it. In a previous post making a case for striving to gain advantage from Internet algorithms such as YouTube’s being a form of goetia, I attributed the demonic-analogous influence not to the processors but to the process itself: constantly adapting to observed actions by vast numbers of human “users” in whatever ways succeed in increasing their usage.

    Anyhow, that’s my counter-speculation: the evil arises from the cloud-dwellers’ shadows exposed by the process, rather than from some characteristic of the toilers in the deep foundations of matter.

    The resulting advice, though, turns out the same. That’s often a strong clue that we’re pursuing different mental models that are at some level describing the same thing. This is very interesting post and topic, in any case!

  51. @ Mark Grable #12

    Great reading recommendations! Speaking of Prasangika Madhyamaka, I highly recommend the book Interdependence, by Kriti Sharma. Sharma applies Nagarjuna’s philosophical methodology to the study of biology and arrives at interesting conclusions.

  52. What an interesting and original take on LA vs SF. Well worth contemplating. The opposite of 1 a-hole is another a-hole, if I can say that. Den

  53. @Robert Gibson #29

    I like to play a game with myself where I imagine what the world would “look” like if we could not directly see photons emanating from objects and could only artificially visualize them, like using a sonography machine to visualize sound waves you cannot see. Or if you imagined having a detector to pick up photons of some very different wavelength than visible light – just like if a being that saw in x-rays were to invent a “visible” light detector. In my imagination, the whole world would look gray and kind of staticky, with only shapes visible.

  54. Thrilling read! Thank you.

    “As Aristotle pointed out a very long time ago, a virtue is not the opposite of one vice but the midpoint between two: courage is the midpoint between cowardice and heedlessness, generosity the midpoint between stinginess and profligacy, and so on through the catalog of virtues and vices.”

    Bingo! You have no idea what sense of realisation I had reading that thought. The spiritual equivalent of finding that missing piece of the puzzle you’d been hunting for unconsciously, and it perfectly fits a gaping slot.

    Could you expand on this? “the Michael current always resolves unities and binaries into ternaries, threefold patterns of balance.” I understand from experience the meaning of the polar modes of resolution into false unity or into an either/or binary choice. I’d love to hear more that could identify the experience of resolution into a ternary. Or does that beg for a follow-up essay? 😉

    And yes, the electronic world has captured the mind of mankind more thoroughly than any of us care to admit. I know I existed perfectly well for 30 (or-so) years without electronics … yet based on my current information life-style, I can barely remember how. A sub-natural miasma has caught me (and the entire world with me) it its gassy web.

  55. @Daniel #37 re: analog information storage/retrieval/manipulation

    I am also experimenting with paper information “systems” (an analog Zettelkasten in my case), and I had similar thoughts when I read this post. There are *so many* dimensions on which an analog system is not a simple binary and has dynamics going that are absent, or at least different, on a computer.

    In addition to the big one you mentioned of slowing you down and making you think harder, a few other ways that come to mind, limited to avoid going overboard: can I read my own handwriting? should I work on that? do I want to try make these pretty, or just functional? what kind of pen do I like writing with? cheap, flimsy index cards, or nice, thick cardstock? Is it worth lugging all of this to where I’m going, or should I maybe take a break for a few days? My finger/hand/wrist is getting sore, maybe it’s time to do something else.

    Sure, for some of these you could come up with equivalents for digital systems, but analog is just so very *granular* on every single dimension you care to dig into.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  56. Since you contrasted the 19th century with our own, I find myself wondering how the 17th and 18th centuries compare in Luciferian and Ahrimanic evil. And of course, far as Ahrimanic evil goes, we won’t even talk about the Roman Empire at various points in its history! But, yes, Crowley would be considered just another party boy today, since we’re still undergoing the whiplash reaction to Victorian prissiness. As for the role in the focus on the smallest of things go, that truly is food for thought. Lots of thought. But with the resources crunch and contracting economy etc, the focus on quanta and subatomic particles and so on will wane. Or is it a matter of “once the cat’s out of the bag….?” And Pluto in its planetary days must have assuredly kick-started a lot of this. Humanity’s Descent to the Nadir… now it’s getting a bit scary.

  57. @JMG, Robert Gibson about colors: A common problem many people have is that they identify their perception of an object with the nature of an object. I see a red rose, therefore the rose is red. No, it is not. It’s just illuminated with a certain spectrum of light and reflects a certain wavelengths in different ways. Change the spectrum of the light and you’ll be surprised what in what kind of colors you can perceive your rose.

    So, our perceptions of objects that are not self-luminous are fully dependent on the quality of the light that illuminates them and therefore I’d say it’s fair to say that they don’t have a inherent property called color. They do “react” to certain illumination in certain ways, that’s for sure.

    And what about self-luminous objects? Atoms have line spectra and although the number of energy states, an atom has is mathematically unlimited this doesn’t matter very much in reality since most of the outermost energy states (“Rydberg-states”) lie very close to each other and usually can’t be populated since minimal external disturbances will ionize an atom that is in such a highly excited state. So the number of energy states, an atom can have is practically limited and countable. For the number of transitions between states an electron can make the same applies, too. To each transition belongs one (more or less) sharp wavelengths, hence a “color”. But which states and transitions are involved in the process of an atom emitting light is again fully dependent on external factory, namely the way, the atom is excited (a Helium-Neon laser usually produces red light but you can also make it produce green light, for example). So, atoms don’t have an inherent property called color, too. The same applies for molecules with the small and for our current purpose insignificant difference that the energy states may become much more blurred and the spectral lines very broad. I will not go into black body radiation, as the same reasoning applies here, too.

    That leaves us with photons. Do photons have a color? Well, first of all I think it’s important to realize that it is very difficult to properly define, what a “photon” is, at least if we take our everyday experiences as basis. It’s impossible for us to perceive a photon without “destroying” it. We can’t look at a photon and say: “Oh look there, there’s a green photon coming out of the computer screen”. So from my perspective – I’d say photons are the closest we can get to “colored objects”, but no, photons don’t have color.

    There is no inherent property called “color” in the objects that we perceive. Even before the photon reaches our retina there’s a rather complicated network of causes and conditions that forms the basis for our perception that at the end gives rise to the sensation of seeing a color. But of cause there is color. Following above reasoning, I’d say we’d be closer to the truth if we’d say “color” is an inherent property of our mind ;-).

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  58. Dear JMG,
    Well, this was an alarming post, and considering the range of subjects you wrote about the last decade, this is really something.I´ll have to find whatever I still have by Steiner and his followers to look at this.
    Do you know the book “The Nature of things – the secret life of inanimate objects” by Lyall Watson? I read it many years ago, but I vaguely remember he shared similar intuitions about computers and how they seemed to be developing a kind of “mineral conscience”.
    Also, the idea of scale and the difference of sub-nature and supernature may have been used by C.S. Lewis in his The Great Divorce. He textually says that Hell is small, and exists in a little ground fissure in Heaven. The ghosts that visit Heaven see themselves as transparent and insubstantial when they arrive there. I wonder if he imagined they were expanded, or “stretched” like too little butter on a toast, and needed to gain substance by opening to Grace. Anyway, the manner you described the ghastly aspect of Ahrimanic sub-space would probably be an excellent subject for a horror story, capable of Outlovecrafting Lovecraft…
    Cheers,
    Pedro

  59. Off topic (and if desired, off list, but tangentially relevant!): Wendell Berry on his desire to shoot a drone:
    “I am away in a quiet valley,
    am busy at my quiet work
    In this comely small cup of country
    exactly fitted to my ind,
    my mind to it exactly fitted.
    It is enclosed by slopes and trees,
    filled full of light and air and wind,
    fulfilled by time and wear and weather.
    My work is gathered of air and earth,
    the history of the local light.
    I am not going to to tell you whether
    or not I’m coming back. Don’t wait.
    Don’t try to call. I have no phone.
    There’s not much left I want to shoot,
    But I would like to shoot a drone.” (To the N.S.A.)

  60. Hmm. Now is binary logic a manifestation of what you call subnatural and therefore linked to Ahrimanic evil or is it the particles? Because for the particles, there doesn’t need to be binary logic. In fact, most atomic and sub-atomic particles behave in a very – ahem – non-binary fashion regarding the various inner states they can populate and especially it’s quite possibly to “mix” states so that for example an atom is 30% in state |1> and 70% in state |2>. Then entangle this with another atom in some mixed state and things get funny. This 1-0-thing is just convenience. You can have as many states as you want, although I’d say the scaling laws are very unfortunate for large-scale applications in this case.

    Our bodies are made of subatomic particles and all our material senses rely on processes that are principally of the same nature like what’s happening in computers (those processes are all mostly atomic, not sub-atomic). So why then is the internet evil and our bodies are not? Or are our bodies evil, too?

    Or am I taking things to literally here?

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  61. Hey jmg

    Something that occurred to me is that the ahrimahnic bias of computers may have something to do with the planetary energies drawn in by what they are made of, such as copper which is the metal of Venus. Very likely rare earth metals have occult properties that we have no knowledge of.

  62. Fresno is a hotbed – around 106f today. Michael’s balance may not be here, but it feels like there’s a flaming sword hovering over us. Stranger still, appropriate technology has taken root, from Yellow Pages to extensive Community-supported agriculture – and one of the most robust Master Gardener programs in the state. A businessperson I met this last weekend waxed lyrical on how collapse seems such a slower process than he’d ever though it would be. I gave him my copy of Retrotopia.

    Brian Kenney was right, we’ve run the generator twice this year when the power went out.

  63. Hwistle, it’s an interesting question how the Qlippoth relate to the subnatural realm. One thing I note, however, is that computers are logical in the classic sorcerer’s-apprentice fashion, carrying out orders mindlessly whether those make sense or not; the vagaries of AI research suggest that “1+ 1 = petunia” may be rooted in precise logic but bizarre preconceptions.

    Kathleen, I don’t know of a single volume on medieval philosophy that’s good — I picked up my knowledge of it in scraps, and then by reading primary sources. Anyone else?

    Johnny, oh, they’re sensory experiences, all right — just with a very limited range of senses (vision and hearing, mostly). It’s interesting to me at least that the VR people have had such poor luck working with the sense of touch.

    Gabriel, “cooperating with intent” strikes me as a more useful concept than either control or manipulation. I’ll be doing another post about that in due time.

    Iwelsh, exactly. One of the side effects of any form of consciousness training, such as meditation, is that it makes Kant’s point about space and time a matter of direct personal experience.

    Steve, you can certainly use Christian symbolism and traditions to make sense of this; it’s one way of many, but it’s a way.

    Johnny, I hadn’t been aware of him, but there are people like that scattered all over. A good thing, too.

    Fra’ Lupo, exactly. Evil as privation is yet another theology of evil; from my perspective, it’s flawed, but less so than some others.

    Bill, okay, fair warning!

    Ethan, Steiner very clearly caught onto the imagery of the future.

    Kimberly, I wish he could have seen a century into his future. I think it would have done him some good.

    Dennnis, that’s an excellent point! I hadn’t thought of Lewis’ “Men Without Chests” from The Abolition of Man, but it’s highly relevant.

    Yorkshire, ouch. No, that’s not good.

    Walt, I’m trying to make some kind of sense of this and failing. Who are you identifying as the “cloud dwellers” in, say, physics?

    Dennis, euphemisms are always welcome here.

    Brazzart, the proper use of ternaries is a central theme in certain schools of magical training, and would require a book rather than a comment! I’ve discussed some of the details in the fourth part of this essay.

    David, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Patricia, that’s an interesting point, because in Europe, at least, the 17th century was deeply Luciferian, with religious warfare driven by holier-than-thou attitudes, while the 18th was much more greedy and sensual — think of the English Regency as the blowoff period of the Ahrimanic phase. So there seems to be an alternation with something like a two-century wavelength.

    Liberhermetis, you’re right, Lovecraft would have had great fun with this! It’s been years since I read The Great Divorce, but you may well be right — Lewis may have had the supernatural and subnatural in mind there too.

    Celadon, not off topic at all!

    Nachtgurke, you’re taking things much too literally here. Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis

    J.L.Mc12, hmm! That’s an interesting speculation.

    Harry, good heavens. Maybe Fresno will rise to its cosmic destiny at last!

  64. Hi John Michael,

    It’s kind of weird that the seeds of destruction are built into extreme movements. Almost as if nature was saying: “Well, you can give it a go and find out for yourselves, but…” 🙂

    Most of the problems facing humanity are in fact, self correcting. However, I do wonder whether the ‘good-people’ will welcome the outcomes. What do you reckon about that?

    Cheers

    Chris

  65. The movie Akira comes to mind, where an amoeba from the microcosm gains the powers of a god. It also seems likely the wendigo could be the result of lower order single-cell impulses having a similarly outsized influence.

    Regarding practical applications I’m still struggling with spending too much time on the internet and this conversation really helps with some much needed perspective. In meditation today I was told that yes, there is a malevolent consciousness at work and therefore I have to treat electronics like a shopping mall department store. Go in, get what I came for, and get out. The food there is unhealthy, it’s full of radiation, and the people who spend a lot of time in those places aren’t usually the kind I want to associate with.

  66. Nice essay John.

    I am quite familiar with Steiner’s work, especially the agricultural side of it as I use some BD practices myself. I’ve found they work quite well, and what is the best about it is that they don’t have to descend into ideology and dogma like some people seem to think they have to. Steiner himself said that everyone should test his ideas, and if they don’t work, try something else building upon the principles.

    He was very keen on empirical validation and research.

    As you say, he had some brilliant insights and then some not so brilliant ones, and it seems to be he was so overwhelmed by visions and revelations that he could barely keep track of them – he must have hit upon some pretty intense currents.

    One thing that struck me he said was that electricity makes humans dumb, and the more electricity we are surrounded by the dumber we will be – seems apt in this day and age.

  67. Thank you very much for this. There is so much to ponder in this very short essay. Sorry for the stream of consciousness style, but I want to flesh it out while it is still in my head…

    1) I had anticipated that “the subnatural” would be an 8th plane analogous to the 7 planes in Dion Fortune’s Cosmic Doctrine. I grasp this is not the case, since you cannot really shoehorn “the supernatural” into either the etheric or the astral plane. My first reflection on this is that “the subnatural is denser than the natural” has to do with the fact that ordinary matter, as we perceive it is mostly empty space. When we get to experience the same reality at the subatomic level, we get to see the same amount of mass concentrating in unimaginably small volumes, and therefore acting along very different rules/patterns. Could it be fair to extrapolate and say that “the supernatural” observes the same reality from the point of view of galaxies an bigger; therefore great amounts of mass, spread over an even much greater space (less dense)?

    2) Let me try to run with what is on the liminal zone between “natural” and “supernatural”. Planets (actual astronomical objects in the solar system) are almost unimaginably vast and unimaginable far away, but in a scale that makes them visible to the naked eye (or perhaps with the help of simple optical telescopes) in the night sky. Just as these astronomical rocks do exist in the material plane, their astrological counterparts (planetary energies, intelligences, divine… for lack of a better term… personas) exist in the subtle planes. These are gods, or messengers of gods, sent to interact with us because they are about as “big” entities as we can perceive with our human set of capabilities. Maybe then the supernatural is not a plane, but spans across planes?

    3) What would be the counterparts of supernatural planets in the “subnatural”? Tiny things that exist at the edge of our perception? One such example, and which traditionally follows the label of “evil” are pathogenic agents. Parasites and (some kinds of) fungi are visible to the naked eye, while bacteria are visible with simple, optic microscopes. As it has been proposed elsewhere in the Terrain Theory of Disease, this pathogens may not be the true cause of disease but symptoms or manifestations of it, and getting rid of them without addressing the ultimate causes would offer just temporary releaf. The ultimate causes are called Miasmas in Homeopathic literature, and as far as I can tell they are etheric in nature (though some authors such as Dr. Tomas Pablo Paschero and the Argentinian School of Homeopathy attribute to those some qualities that can be best described as astral). So, it is also posible the subnatural spans across planes too?

    4) Going back to #2, the supernatural spans not just through space, but through time. One examples of beings that exist in the limits of our perception in the past are: Dinosaurs. They have captured our imaginations in powerful ways, and while we cannot actually see them, we can see their fossil remains and still recognize those as animals.

    5) Following from #4, what is within and order of magnitude as old as dinosaurs, but not recognizable as the beings once lived in this earth? First thing that comes to mind is: oil, coal, fossil fuels in general. There were incredibly vast reserves of this underground, and while we theoretically know it is a non-renewable resource, we as a society cannot seem to grasp this fact an act accordingly. Would it be too much of a stretch to say that if the power of nuclear fission is a subnatural manifestation of Ahrimanic evil, fossil fuels are the equivalent supernatural manifestation of Luceferian evil? After all, fossil fuels have changed the world making space and time “not matter” to the daily life of millions, and they have more often than not been used (or have used us) for the sake of imposing political, cultural and economic hegemony….

  68. The idea that one cannot directly experience reality… what, then, is happening when I ‘send my awareness’ to various parts of my body (that are not my mind – such as my foot)? And what, then, is happening with empathy?

    The notion that empathy is nothing but a flight of fancy, as I’ve found frequently enough in scientific materialist circles, seems if not evil than at least depressing to witness.

  69. For the history of medieval philosophy there are volumes 2 and 3 of Frederick Coplestone’s multi-volume A History of Philosophy. (1946-1975). Coplestone was a very learned Jesuit who covered a lot of ground in a lucid popular style, and the individual volumes were available as inexpensive paperbacks when I read them back in the early 1970s.

  70. Oops … the historian of philosophy whom I just cited is Frederick Copleston (not Coplestone) — no silent “e” at the end of his name.

  71. Archdruid,

    For some reason I am incredibly amused by the idea of Fresno having a grand cosmic destiny. This was a great essay by the way. Thank you as always!

    Regards,

    Varun

  72. “Terrible spiders which will interlock with each other, which will imitate in their movements all that which humanity has thought of with their shadowlike intellect.”

    That’s almost the perfect description of machine learning. Reminds of the time Microsoft released a machine learning twitter chatbot called TAY AI and within 24 hours people had taught it to become a holocaust denying, racist, Hitler fanboy. Of course, if you set aside the content of its tweets, its behaviour was indistinguishable from real humans on twitter.

    It might interest you to know that the distinction between Ahrimanic and Luciferic also works here in Australia. Sydney is our LA and Melbourne is our SanFran. Australia, in general, is a second California (as we all learned during the covid madness) and not Texas as most Americans assume. Maybe there’s something in the water of the Pacific Ocean.

  73. I laughed out loud when you accused my home town SF of being Luciferian, and its sibling-rival LA of being Ahrimanic. But wait a minute; I can tell you that there’s plenty of wretched SF excess, and plenty of prideful LA snobbery. So that’s stereotyping.

    Here’s some East Coast stereotyping: New York as Ahrimanic, and Washington DC as Luciferian. But there too the opposite snap judgements apply.

    Why stop with the coasts? Houston and Austin as A and L? But there too the reverse applies. Ahrimanic Republicans and Luciferian Democrats? That reverses too.

    Donald Trump has the Ahrimanic deadly sins: avarice, gluttony, and lust. But he also has the Luciferian deadly sins: pride, envy, and wrath. To these he adds sloth, which in his case is almost a virtue, for it has stopped him from attaining his worst self. Is sloth Michaelic?

    There are other triads: Ahrimanic Curly, Luciferian Moe, and by default Michaelic Larry. Ditto Id, Superego, and Ego. Son, Father, Holy Ghost. Democracy, Monarchy, Consensus. But in each of these, the third Michaelic term is mostly by default, is weak, and is poorly instantiated. How do I consider Fresno? Rarely. So really these triads are mostly dyads with a hanger-on. I doubt they fit the Aristotelian Golden Mean.

    Solzhenitsyn warns us that the line between good and evil passes through every heart, therefore it is folly to try, or even wish, to eliminate all evil.

    If you gaze into the abyss, then when it gazes back, you’d better not blink.

  74. “One of the great ironies of the history of ideas is the way that cultures and civilizations go out of their way not to follow up on their greatest intellectual achievements. Look at the trajectory of every great culture, and you’ll find that the supreme breakthroughs of its thinkers don’t happen at the beginning of an arc of intellectual achievement; they happen at the end, just before whatever field of work led to those breakthroughs gets abandoned.”

    Do you have any idea why they do this?

  75. One very common source of software bugs is failure to account for unknown data. In programming languages such as Java, an object that has an unhandled null value leads to the dreaded NPE (null pointer exception) – an error.

    In contrast, in a database, an unhandled null most likely just gives you a wrong answer. Handling this properly is known as tri-valued logic.

    From my decades of software/database experience, I would much rather get an error that a wrong answer.

  76. Another mind-blowing post. It will take a while to digest. Thank you.

    P.S. I also wondered whether “Lost” Angeles was intentional!

  77. I direct your attention to J. Michael Straczynski’s Nebula-award winning science-fiction series “Babylon 5”. The story is mostly about a conflict between two ancient spacefaring species: the Vorlons and the Shadows. They were charged with directing the evolution of the younger races; in effect they were wildlife managers. They disagreed as to how; hence the conflict.

    The Vorlons had evolutionary roots as parasites. They believed in order and discipline. The Vorlon method is to convey holy writ from on high. To do this, they present themselves as angels and mythic heroes; for they are telepaths, and when you look at them, you see what they want you to see. Their favorite question is “who are you?”, and they are not satisfied with your name.

    The Shadows had evolutionary roots as predators. They believed in chaos and conflict to force a species’ evolution. The Shadow method is to destroy a civilization, so that in the resulting chaos and conflict, only the strong, the smart, and the fit survive. Their favorite tactic is to ask their victim “what do you want?” and grant the wish in the most destructive way possible.

    (Ambassador Londo Mollari told the Shadow thrall Mr. Morden that he wanted to make the Centauri Republic great again. That was the biggest mistake of his life. Londo’s protege’ Vir Cotto told Mr. Morden that he wanted to see them cut off Morden’s head and stick it on a pike, as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come at too high a price. Vir got his wish, and he was the only one on the show to be satisfied with his Shadow wish.)

    The Vorlons had evolutionary roots as parasites. They believed in order and discipline. The Vorlon method is to convey holy writ from on high. To do this, they present themselves as angels and mythic heroes; for they are telepaths, and when you look at them, you see what they want you to see. Their favorite question is “who are you?”, and they are not satisfied with your name.

    The Shadows enter the show as villains, for they are seducers and destroyers. At first the Vorlons look like ‘good guys’, but they prove to be as fanatical, treacherous, and lethal as the Shadows. In the show, John Sheridan, a Human, and Delenn, a Minbari, unite the younger races politically, confront Shadows and Vorlons, and tell them to “get the Hell out of our galaxy”. Thus they commence the Third Age, of independence from both of those menaces.

    I think that, in your terms, the Shadows are clearly Ahrimanic, and the Vorlons Luciferian. You could call Sheridan and Delenn Michaelic, as they demand a balance between order and chaos; but neither is purely orderly or purely chaotic. The third term is weak and undersymbolized. But note J. Michael Straczynski’s middle name.

  78. Chris, oh, the Good People will pretend that nothing is wrong, no matter what happens. As we all know, Hy Brasil is not sinking!

    Aloysius, that seems like good advice to me.

    PumpkinScone, one of the reasons I respect Steiner’s work so much is precisely that its practical applications — biodynamic agriculture and Waldorf schooling among them — are so effective. I’d love to see more people testing his ideas, putting them into the context of the broader occult movement of which he was a part, weeding out the mistakes and building on the successes.

    CR, yes, that’s what I’m suggesting. There’s a common trope in old science fiction that our solar system is an atom in some vaster universe, and our atoms are solar systems in some incalculably smaller universe. As for fossil fuels as a Luciferian energy source, hmm! I’ll want to think about that but it makes sense at first glance.

    Kat, the mere fact that you have no direct contact with reality doesn’t mean that reality isn’t there, or that you aren’t interacting with it. It simply means that your interactions with it are mediated by the structures of your own body and mind, and so have an inescapably subjective element to them. That emphatically does not mean that they’re “flights of fancy”! It means that we communicate with one another, and with aspects of ourselves, at one or more removes.

    Robert, thanks for this! Was that the Copleston who had the famous debate with Bertrand Russell?

    Varun, you’re most welcome. I’ve been to Fresno on a couple of occasions, and though I didn’t experience any vast cosmic forces there, here’s hoping.

    Simon, fascinating. So what’s Western Australia like?

    Paradoctor, it’s always people in San Francisco who object to that characterization. I recall with some amusement the people from the SF Pagan community who used to come up to Seattle at regular intervals to tell the backward tribes up there how to be Pagan. They never figured out why so few people took them as seriously as they took themselves, and if you pointed out to them that they were being arrogant and patronizing, they’d either get furious or turn to mockery as you’ve done. In terms of other such polarities, in the early 19th century greedy, grubby New York was the Ahrimanic capital of the country and snotnosed, holier-than-thou Boston was its Luciferic capital; in the late 19th century St. Louis was the Ahrimanic capital and Chicago, the heart of the New Thought movement, was the Luciferian capital. Now that businesses and residents are fleeing California at so rapidly increasing a rate, I suspect the Ahrimanic capital is shifting east again to Dallas; it’ll be interesting to see which city in a state north of there becomes the new home of those pompous people who think it’s their privilege and duty to tell everyone else what to do.

    Your Kittenship, tentacles are indeed always relevant, and the images on the top answer are pretty good.

    Teresa, my take is that every culture’s greatest intellectual achievement turns out to disprove the ideas on which the culture itself bases its view of reality.

    Loon, I’m sufficiently out of touch with the software world that I don’t really follow what you’re trying to say.

    Paradoctor, not even the whole rich world. China has the second biggest economy on the planet, India has the seventh biggest, and Brazil has the ninth.

    Blue Sun, you’re welcome.

    Paradoctor, thanks, but I don’t do visual media.

  79. “When they started with the gerbils, I knew it was time to leave.”

    Lmao. Thank you so much for this. It’s always been hard to explain why I left Los Angeles. 🙂

  80. I have been contemplating heaven and hell lately, especially hell. I think the perception of time may seem longer for people in hell as it does in some dreams. I imagine hell as being that time when a soul buzzes around in tight little circles of punishments, a.k.a. “curses”. My definition of a curse is an imposed cycle upon someone or something (places and objects can also be cursed) intended to punish the subject of the curse whenever they try to repeat the behavior the curser intends to prevent them from doing. I came up with this personal definition after looking at the etymology of the word “curse”, which hints at being attributed to the Latin “cursus” or “course” as in the Christian liturgy, implying a formula of readings performed four times a year. I liken the hellish sentence as a curse that is imposed until the sufferer figures out how to stop repeating the problematic behavior, though of course this spurs all sorts of questions, such as:

    -Is hell essentially a version of the film Groundhog’s Day, which is a modern day Sisyphus tale?
    -As world human population ebbs, how many human souls will re-take their animal forms (if any) and how many will occupy hell?
    -Is hell something the higher self determines the denser self must go through, during life and after death? What kind of messed up s*** is that?
    -Do those who anger the gods get demoted and/or sent to hell, like Arachne whose arrogance led Athena to turn her into a spider and Erisychthon who pissed off Demeter and then ended up munching on his own flesh? How long do the punishments last?

  81. JMG
    I know this is not the point of the post but I can’t help myself. I think you picked the wrong highway. It should be 101, not 99. Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo come/came a lot closer to a mid point than Fresno. The central valley is back in middle America. Santa Barbara has pretty much gone full Hollywood, but SLO is still a bit of both with a dash of Fresno added.I guess their virtue really is just a blend of their vices.
    I know you got a fair few Luciferic refugees from SB in Ashland back in the day. I knew quite a few of them. Think of some crystal stores there. One could almost call in Luciferia north, or mid north if one includes Portland.
    Sorry for being a brat, but, as I said, I couldn’t help myself. Actually you have given me a new way to see a bit of both in myself, though my Ahramanic side has more involved hedonistic living on the cheap in wonderful places than in material aquisitions.
    thanks, Stephen

  82. @Celadon
    When I lived in Honolulu the neighbor on the terrace below us used to fly his drone over our place. I always shot at it with my slingshot. I never hit it, but came close. I told him that sooner or later I would hit it, and if I had a shotgun, i would already have done so. He stopped flying it over our place. I’ve never been clear what the legality was, but it would have been an interesting case.

  83. Up at #62, photons are a good example. They have frequency,(or wavelength, take your pick, they are related by the speed of light.) and that frequency is also associated with a specific energy.

    If That packet of energy is the correct size, and only if it is the correct size, it can trigger a reaction in the electron clouds around the rhodopsin molecule in your retina, and that reaction fires the nerve ending that connects to the brain. And you see light.

    But since the packet of energy is too big you do not see x-rays, nor do you see the FM radio waves sluicing through your body all the time, as their packet is too small.

    There is a lot more reality than your senses can detect. But evolution has tuned us to detect the immediately dangerous parts of reality, (lions, tigers, bears) while radio waves are not a particular threat. X-rays could be a threat, but there aren’t a significant number of them at the bottom of the atmosphere.

  84. On the subjective natures of space and time, I think we, culturally, may actually have some level of understanding of that. “Time flies when one’s having fun,” after all, and faster transportation “makes the world smaller”. Phrases referring to pretty common experiences. The trick is that, consciously, we think of those as just related to _perception_. Obviously, time isn’t actually moving faster when one’s having fun, or slower when one’s impatiently waiting for something to happen; covering a particular stretch of a particularly route on foot, on a horse, and on a motorcycle don’t actually change how long that bit of path is. It’s just our _perception_ that changes, getting objective reality _wrong_.

    Except, well. As you say: and we think our perception is getting objective reality _right_ the _rest_ of the time _why_? What do we have to compare our perceptions to, but other perceptions? And that’s before throwing in that even those _perceptions_, when sent through some of those clever tricks, show space and time as non-absolute, affected by the mass of objects and their relative speeds.

    So perhaps it’s not so much that we as a culture can’t conceive of subjective space and time, but that this, as with many of things, is something we tell ourselves can’t be the case. Capital-S Science says that it’s only this particular set of things that distort space and time, and only in these particular ways; waiting for a kettle to boil is _not_ one of those things (as far as we know — but of course, most people, myself not excepted despite my undergraduate degree in physics, have a pretty poor and incomplete understanding of how we even _think_ general and special relativity work, in detail, and given that trying to reconcile them with quantum mechanics is still an ongoing, and I suspect likely never to be finished (Quite possibly, _impossible_ to finish while we’re still humans, or at the very least while we’re stuck with our current beliefs about how the world has to work. I mean, imagine if the answer _really is_ that invisible sentient beings act with intent, constantly and everywhere, to resolve the conflict, that, in this case, the planets _really do_ move because of angels pushing them, as it were, and the wind originate in the puffed cheeks of gods; would any scientist who somehow discovered that and didn’t reject it immediately themself have even the _slightest_ hope of getting the establishment to listen?), project…), so obviously there can’t actually be a change in the rate of time passing there in the objective reality revealed to us by science. And the question of how those scientists without a doubt perceived that objective reality through their instruments, when they strictly speaking only had their sense perceptions of the instruments to go on? That seems like one of those questions our culture prefers to pretend doesn’t exist.

  85. “Info, well, Steiner was a Christian, you know. An eccentric Christian, but a Christian”

    Indeed. Although in regards to the counter to false unity. The Orthodox manages to do this very well Philosophically by the said reasoning that I laid out.

    The Catholic and Orthodox fundamentally differed in regards to the Filioque. The Catholic side was more inclined due to “Absolute divine simplicity” to unity which would tend to abolish distinctions.

    But the “Energy-Essence” distinction allowed for the unity of Divine and Human without compromising either. Both in the person of Christ and of the marriage between God and Humanity as is one of the themes of the book of Revelation.

    By the participation in the Divine Energies humanity is “Glorified”. Which underlies the Theology of Theosis.

    This also allows for unification whilst respecting differences and distinctions. And allows for individual human personality to remain unique in each person. As an “Image of God”.

    In this way they are opposed to Neo-Platonism which also posits Unity whilst abolishing distinction which underlies what they believe is the underlying worldview that informs the “Absolute Divine Simplicity” Theology.

    Hence the East West Schism that had huge repercussions today.

  86. JMG,

    Western Australians think themselves superior to the east not for snobbish reasons but economic ones. Western Australia is one of the richest places on earth per capita. They run a huge trade surplus exporting minerals and food. Perth is also the most isolated city in the world, so that leads to a certain parochialism.

    Fun fact: Western Australia actually voted to secede from Australia in 1933 (68% Yes vote) but it never happened because there is no formal process in the Australian constitution for secession. If China ever decides it’s in its interests to split Australia up, I doubt it’ll take much encouragement to get Western Australia to leave.

  87. I think I can translate what Rose Red Loon is trying to say:

    It’s generally considered preferable among developers for a piece of software to crash as soon as an error arises rather than carry on like it didn’t happen and do the wrong thing. Essentially, better to have someone rap your knuckles as soon as you forget to carry the one rather than have the erroneous sum make its way onto your tax forms. Also, a program that crashes at the point of the error is often easier to debug and fix.

    One specific type of error has to do with when information is missing, but you try to use it anyway. This results from trying to dereference a null pointer, a bit of terminology you don’t need to understand, except that “null” here refers to a kind of placeholder that means “no data here.”

    Relational databases also use the concept of “null” to mean “no data here,” and it’s also used as a kind of third logical value besides true and false in the Structured Query Language (SQL). Having null values in your database can lead to a number of problems, and unlike dereferencing a null pointer, these don’t cause the program to crash, they just return erroneous information.

    Having said all that, I fundamentally disagree with Loon’s examples here, because both are examples of major mistakes in software engineering!

    The null pointer in ordinary programming is often considered a “billion dollar mistake” precisely because it can cause programs to crash without warning. and there are other and better ways of representing missing data that force programmers to handle it more gracefully.

    Whether the null value should have been included in SQL is somewhat controversial, but what’s not controversial is that it was implemented badly.

  88. Its funny. I spend a fair chunk of my time at a community in CA and have through the years been involved with various permaculture communities and environmental NGOs. I saw fairly early on the Cromwellian self righteousness and judgementism ( is that a word?) in the NGOs, and only more recently in many permaculture and sustainable living groups. I think the obsession with pronouns and white privilege finally became a bit absurd. It seems there are about 15 gender options, but the only racial options are white or person of color. I have never encountered before today the words Abrimanic and Luciferic. They are very helpful

  89. @Fra’Lupo

    “Also makes me think of the Neoplatonist sense of evil as privation or non-existence, although this sensibility would seem to be undermined when we contemplate the very real horrors and outrages visited upon creatures of all kinds.”

    In this manner the Neoplatonist philosopher is deficient. But I think the notion of Nature sharing in the “Fall of Man” or the privations that are ultimately the ripple effects of the rebellion of “Lucifer”.

    And the “New Heavens and Earth” that is prophesized to happen in the future that God is meant to implement. After the destruction of the current one. Solves that issue.

    This also explains why Neoplatonism helped paved the way for conversion to Christianity.

  90. Hello JMG
    Though I enjoyed the recent articles about the decline, this one is thought provoking.

    I find it specially useful the depiction of both evils, soulless and bodyless.

    The speculation of a subnatural realm is interesting, but I can’t think of a real application against the emotions and desires of the subatomic particles.

  91. Thank you, a thought provoking piece as usual.

    I am struck by the phrases supernatural and subnatural. They seem to imply that they are outside of Nature but if Natural is all that is (that is how I perceive it) then there is nothing outside. Have I misunderstood the inference or is the word nature being framed in a different way in this context?

    There is also a nice reflection in the super / mid / sub layers with the higher self, ego and soul.

  92. Wow. This is one of your very best, and I’ve been reading you since the beginning.

    This now puts a shuddering and worrying context on the generation of scientists who use the strange outcomes of the double slit experiment as proof of the supernatural. Sure, its proof of a wider “natural”, but it might be the wrong end of things as far as is good for humans.

    Also, I wonder now if this is why the fee fluidic or hydraulic computers that were built could do things that no computer could do, primarily because they were counting with flows, not discrete units. A bit like your Cetans

  93. It’s not the only such technology—it’s worth noting, for example, that very nearly the first thing that happened once Einstein proposed that mass could be converted into lots of energy was that people in various parts of the world went, “Ooh, cool, you could make a really lethal bomb that way!”

    – And the need to deal with a situation where two vast political machines point nuclear missiles at each other, lead to one John von Neumann to invent a whole Mathematical discipline known as Game Theory, which is meant to deal with situations when everyone including you is assumed to act on basic selfish impulses, usually faced with two choices – to defect or to cooperate.

    Arguably this way of thinking has since got out of the War Room and infiltrated vast domains in our society to the point many people who run things see the world soley through this lens, despite experiments showing the only people who consistently behave as Game Theory predicts are economists and psychopaths.

    So maybe Nuclear bombs have influenced the world in similar ways after all.

  94. So the hype of everything Digital is ultimately Ahrimanic evil.
    Feels somehow true to me.
    Subsequently all people celebrating this hype are somehow possessed by that evil.
    Feels true, just encountered 3 “smombies” walking with their phones looking like demons.

    Thanks for the essay, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

    //BR

  95. Dear John Michael Greer,

    Thank you so much for this essay. It was the one I was hoping you would write, and I found it even more illuminating and thought-provoking than I had dared hope.

    Relatedly, I am currently rereading Jeremy Naydler’s “The Struggle for a Human Future” in which he frankly discusses, in his words, “the inhuman carried towards us by our technologies.”

    At this time, I conclude that to get on board with digital technologies without any thought other than that “how wonderful, this is progress” is to board a janky raft that may be sailing far, far out to sea into what may be one helluva storm.

    PS Here’s to the Cosmic Destiny of Fresno… (you never know!!)

    MILLICENTLY LURKING

  96. @Apteryx#57 “I like to play a game with myself where I imagine what the world would “look” like if we could not directly see photons emanating from objects and could only artificially visualize them, like using a sonography machine to visualize sound waves you cannot see…”

    I admit that we wouldn’t see colours in that situation! Science is limited to the consideration and investigation of processes; it can’t tackle character or identity. This blog is causing me to refine the way I proselytise in favour of “real” colour. How about this:

    Perception of colour is a collaboration between subject and object, involving both ends and the physical/sensory channels in between. In that procedural fashion, colour arises from an event, scientifically describable. Qualitatively, however, no colour-blind person who suddenly becomes able to see colour will ever say, “Oh yes, I thought it would be like that, since I’ve read already studied the topic and learned how many angstroms each wavelength has;” therefore the colour-event is more than procedural – it is a qualis rather than a quantum. Admittedly one may have to concede that colour doesn’t exist unless you are looking at it – but that only shows that, philosophically as much as scientifically, colour involves the collaboration of subject and object. That ensemble ensures that we don’t have to go down the ultimately solipsistic path of saying that “the rose isn’t red, the redness is just in our minds”.

  97. @Nachtgurke#62 “A common problem many people have is that they identify their perception of an object with the nature of an object. I see a red rose, therefore the rose is red. No, it is not. It’s just illuminated with a certain spectrum of light and reflects a certain wavelengths in different ways. Change the spectrum of the light and you’ll be surprised what in what kind of colors you can perceive your rose.”

    Identification of perception of an object with its nature is not a problem provided one admits the perception is partial. The rose is red – it’s also many other colours as well, if one sees it in other conditions or with other optics. The whole rose is the summation or integral of all these possible perceptions.

    The reason my mind works this way, is that I’ve always felt “subjective” to be a rather weasel word; a bit of a thought-stopper, in fact. An impression is not less real for being “subjective”, and part of the nature of the “colour in our minds” is the conviction which accompanies it, namely that to say the rose is red is indeed really to say something about the rose itself. It can be true, if we regard colour as a collaboration between subject and object (see my answer to #57).

  98. This is an interesting take on Ahriman and Lucifer. I have to keep an eye out for it the next time I’m reading Steiner. I’ve normally interpreted Lucifer as the tendency to lofty ideals (saving the world, etc.) and Ahriman as the will to power. So Lucifer leads with evangelism, and Ahriman is right there behind waiting to take over. Still, either way works to make sense of what is going on in the United States today. As to the questions about why Steiner is using Michael, I think it is because Steiner envisioned a war in the spiritual realms in 1879 where Michael defeated Satan, who now roams the earth (L and A are a splitting of the two sides of Satan). Elsewhere, though, Steiner views Christ as keeping Lucifer and Ahriman apart. I just looked L and A up in Anthroposophy A-Z: A Glossary of Terms Relating to Rudolf Steiner’s Spiritual Philosophy and Lucifer is described as having a tendency to dissolve all material things while Ahriman “is the chief cause of all processes that harden and materialize what were initially spiritual realities underlying all Creation.” This is interesting, because, besides leading to thoughts about the two opposing tendencies of the Piscean age, which are notably expressed in the history of Western Christianity, dissolving and hardening or materializing leads me to think of solve et coagula, and wondering how that might fit in, especially as it comes to thinking of what the third, reconciling element, might be.

  99. Sorry about dropping off the face of the earth. Extreme light affects my brain.

    Speaking of brains, among us brain injured folks, all sorts of weird brain thingies happen to the point where we could be considered space aliens. For example, I have no sense of time, nada. BUT I see time as color! Yes, purple days, pink months, plaid seasons, all a swirl of colors. But I have no concept what 12:45 AM means. But it is purple with green stripes.

    I also see words coming out of people’s mouths. It is strange to see actual print coming from a mouth in person and on TV. It can be rather disconcerting when a person mumbles, you read,” diddly, doodly, dadddlily.”

    So perception and brains go hand in hand. My problem has always been how to tell what is real. I can look at a door and never see the doorknob. So how do I know that a doorknob exists? It is something that I had to develop protocols for to determine where I am.

    It is something that I ponder – how brains work and how reality works.

  100. Second Robert’s recommendation of copleston who is a first rate second rate mind. Maybe not creative as Kant or Schopenhauer or Erigena but fully up to introducing any philosophical ideas from any period and fair minded and subtle to boot. You can find used copies for very little if his volumes in any good old fashioned book store of any size. I just reread his stuff on Leibniz and it’s still the best.

  101. @ David Trammel – the brain patterns of the nonbelievers sound like dress rehearsals for membership in The Radiance.

  102. My husband is a quantum mechanic. I asked if physics led him to agnosticism rather than atheism. He nodded and said there’s a famous quote about it, by Schrödinger or Bohr, that you can begin physics as an atheist, but stick with it long enough and it’ll lead you to the divine.

  103. Rather off-topic, I recently read JMG’s ‘The Long Descent’ with great interest. I think I agree, we probably blew our chances in the 1970s. Setting up a low-EROEI renewable energy system with the aid of low-ish EROEI oil in the 2020s is more difficult than it would have been 45 years ago. That would have been aided by relatively high-EROEI oil. As Tim Morgan points out, capital is a claim on surplus energy; see ‘Surplus Energy Economics’ blog.

    One point made in TLD was the high productivity of organic horticulture using hand tools, i.e. what I use to garden in England, mostly little changed since Victorian times. I agree. However, the people who obtain these yields, e.g. John Jeavons (USA) then and now, Charles Dowding (UK) now – may import organic material from outside to support their incredibly high yields. If one allows for this, maybe it’s not quite possible to get all one’s food from ~100 m2 of land. Other land could be needed to support animals such as chickens (or larger ones) to produce manure which helps keep the fertility of the organic veg. garden up.

    Have you checked this? Thanks. If by any chance 100 m2 is correct, most gardens in the UK and elsewhere in Europe could support a family of three to four.

    There’s also the UK website ‘Small Farm Future’. If he’s correct, the UK could support 85 M people, maybe 25% more than it has now. But it would be a dreary diet.

  104. A brilliant story on the relativity of time, if you like Borges, is of the writer with the unfinished book who is about to be executed by firing squad. Time slows down to where he finishes the book in his mind while he is tied to the stake. Typical two page Borges story. His stories always have a very haiku feeling to me, or Japanese brush painting.

  105. I read this several times to understand it.

    From the Blog Post: “It’s one of the consistent features of Ahrimanic evil, furthermore, that it defines the world in terms of binaries. (Luciferic evil, by contrast, has false unities as its keynote, and the Michael current always resolves unities and binaries into ternaries, threefold patterns of balance.) To the Ahrimanic mind, it’s always this or that, yes or no, me or you, desirable or hateful…1 or 0. Steiner died before digital computer technology came to the forefront, but it would have given him not a millisecond of surprise that computers reduce everything into binary digits.”

    It would explain a lot on the internet. But expanding it further, I find it among the Neo-Pagans who blog and whom I still speak to. They in unison have decided that the U.S. Supreme Court is evil, and that Justice Thomas is the spawn of Satan or Ahriman. And these people must be destroyed, not simply destroyed but annihilated.

    What struck me is how ordinary Justice Thomas is. Every summer, he and his wife travel in their RV stopping at truck stops and Wal-Mart parking lots. Yes, he pumps his own gas and does his own work on the RV, etc, etc. Very ordinary human among very ordinary people doing very ordinary things. Why the demonization? Yes, there are rulings that I dislike that both the Court and the Justice has made, but they and he are not evil.

    As we have discussed demons infesting the Neo-Pagans, could they be from Ahriman?
    Also, why did Zoroastrianism become so binary?

    Also, as a strangeness, I have received several postings from other sources speaking of Zoroastrianism and Satan. hmmmmm

  106. I returned to this:
    From the blog: “(Luciferic evil, by contrast, has false unities as its keynote, and the Michael current always resolves unities and binaries into ternaries, threefold patterns of balance.) ”
    and this
    From the blog: “Our current crop of Luciferic “Good People,” though their self-righteous posturing is admittedly annoying, can’t hold a candle to the smarmy holier-than-thou brigades of the Victorian era, who turned wallowing in their own imaginary virtue into a fine art.”

    I wonder. The last testimony by the Jan. 6 Committee (U.S. riot at the Capitol) was put out as “blockbusting revelations! by a surprise witness!” Of course it was packaged as “must see TV with all of the glitz and glitter and none of the nitty gritty of actual facts, details, or even questions of how do you know this?” What I got from it was a pile of holes since the person and the testimony has been repeated. All it was to me was, “It’s the sighting of the Great Orange Whale! Man the harpoons! Here He comes!”

    However, the networks and the Wash. Post keep repeating that this was the compelling testimony to send the Great Orange Whale to the bottom of the sea. It was a unity of perspective that everyone had to agree to.

    The Washington Examiner said something different:

    Thus the headlines: Trump sought to lead an armed crowd to Capitol. He wanted the Secret Service to shut down security so his supporters could keep their arms in order to attack the Capitol.

    But why, in fact, did Trump want to shut down security? The answer was in the testimony. Trump wanted to shut down security for the most Trumpian of reasons: He wanted the crowd to be bigger. The rally space wasn’t full that morning. Trump — and this was classic Trump — worried that photos would show he had not attracted a sellout crowd. So he ordered agents to let everybody in. ….Trump wanted a full house. Trump always wants a full house. And then he wants to tell the crowd that thousands are waiting outside, unable to get in because the house is full. That’s what Trump does….

    Here’s the baffling part. A Secret Service spokesperson told Alexander that agents who were inside Trump’s SUV are “available to testify under oath, responding to [Hutchinson’s] new allegations.” Her new allegations? Remember that Hutchinson, by Cheney’s account, had spoken to the committee four times before Tuesday. Did she just now come up with the dramatic story of Trump trying to wrest the wheel of the SUV from the Secret Service? Did she withhold it until now? Usually, congressional committees don’t like that sort of thing.

    At the hearing Tuesday, neither Cheney nor any other member of the Jan. 6 committee mentioned that Engel had already spoken to the committee. Indeed, even a casual listener would have heard Hutchinson’s story and thought: I wonder what the Secret Service guys who were in the car have to say about this. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to hear their versions of events? But the committee already had their versions of the events and did not tell the public about it.
    …..
    But no matter. Many in the press simply loved the show. And what a show it was! Credulous reporters swooned at the committee’s presentation — so unlike other, boring committee hearings. They knew they were being manipulated — and they liked it.
    …..
    Well, how about that. By the way, the “cliffhanger” to which Allen referred was Cheney’s tease about possible witness tampering. Moments before the hearing ended, Cheney read a couple of anonymous quotes that suggested somebody in Trumpworld had tried to intimidate witnesses. It was a self-evidently serious allegation. But there were no identities, no details, no context, no story. Cheney then signed off with a tease saying, in effect, that everyone should tune in for the next exciting episode.

    A cliffhanger! A barnburner! What a show! Jan. 6 was a serious event. The actions of Trump, along with the actions of the portion of the crowd that attacked the Capitol — the rioters — deserve serious, balanced scrutiny. They’re not getting it from the one-sided Jan. 6 committee.

    ….
    Anyway, the Examiner said what I was thinking. That this was a false unity that strove to try to control the reality around us. Meanwhile, other important news (or what was considered to be important) got side-lined. I wonder what it is that the legacy media and the Jan. 6 Committee is hiding or simply doesn’t want people to know? Or is it a matter of manipulating reality so that they can feel safe?

  107. “It’s worth considering the possibility that electronic technology has an inherent Ahrimanic bias literally wired into it.”

    That definitely seems to be the case with television, and the effective application of “programming” the masses.

    It’s difficult for me to sift through this post, as I am a product of the American education system and Western life experience – and materialism and reductionism are traits firmly ingrained in my thinking. It’s like trying to go fly fishing for trout off the downstream side of Hoover Dam. But this post seems to tie in a bit (maybe?) of the idea around a second rise in religiousity as a side effect of decline. Finger pointing rises as conditions worsen, and the term “evil” will be tossed around early and often. Discriminating between the subnatural, supernatural, and Ahrimanic and Luciferic modes of evil will be confusing to many, and thus the rise of the false prophets and leaders will get some more traction to lead the flocks.

    @David Trammel # 108 – thanks for the link, as it seems very apparent to me that “believers” and “non-believers” are definitely wired differently. I take a bit of an exception though, being an agnostic, getting lumped in with the atheists. Their logic on the existence of a supreme being is just as flawed as the “believers”, if not more so, drawing a firm conclusion with insufficient data or experience.

  108. Abraham #98:
    “the emotions and desires of the subatomic particles”:
    In A.E.Van Vogt’s tale, “Far Centaurus”, the starships ran on “aldeledicnandar”, which was semi-explained as “electron psychology”. When the baffled protagonist asked, “You mean electrons think?”, he got the answer, “No, but they do have a psychology”.

  109. Kimberley Steele #88:
    “As world human population ebbs, how many human souls will re-take their animal forms (if any) and how many will occupy hell?”

    If reincarnation is true, then humanity has been recruiting from the other animals lately, and when the global baby bust (a.k.a. Gaia’s Revenge) takes full effect by the end of this century, then those souls will go back to the other animals, who will show increases in intelligence. So basically, humankind’s a school.

    As for hell, what about heaven? I’ve noticed that people are a lot more willing and able to describe the former than the latter. I deduce that people _believe_ more in the former than the latter. The fundamentalists, in particular, are fervent infernalists.

  110. @JMG

    Your point, “my take is that every culture’s greatest intellectual achievement turns out to disprove the ideas on which the culture itself bases its view of reality” reminds me of something –

    Dynamical systems theory, arguably one of the most stellar achievements of modern mathematics, which is Faustian civilization’s unique contribution, basically shatters the illusion of determinism and the idea that the Universe behaves like a machine – ironically the assumption that led to modern machine technics. I’m no expert on the subject, but based on my (admittedly limited) study of the subject, I have come to conclude that if you were to visualize the thing, what you would get is something resembling a landscape, with rivers, hills, valleys and depressions. Systems tend to move in some way or the other, and due to the contours of the landscape, predictably often fall into common patterns of behaviour. I think it was the English scientist Rupert Sheldrake who said that the laws of Nature are like habits. Guess he might be right after all…

    I personally think that biological evolution is something along the same lines. While I’m no fan of Creationism or Intelligent Design, I do think that it’s not just random occurrence – it seems to me that evolution tends to begin by moving in some random direction, and then, depending upon the ‘contours of the landscape’, tends to follow some fairly common trajectory or the other, something along the lines of what dynamical systems theorists call ‘basins of attraction’. If it was ordered and pre-decided by some Creator God(s), then it would have gone strictly along one particular direction, but that isn’t so. Like a billiards ball on a table moves depending upon the creases and folds along the surface, as well as its own physical characteristics, it could well be possible that depending upon how the organism’s genetic composition moves, it tends to move towards one basin of attraction or the other, thus creating the huge diversity of living organism on the planet. Fascinating stuff IMO…

    Another example of Faustian civilization’s core assumptions being disproved by a Faustian intellectual achievement is Godel’s theorem. To me, it shows that not only is a ‘theory of everything’ not possible, but also the fact that the monotheistic claim of the One God and One Truth, are basically untrue.

  111. JMG:
    I agree that San Francisco has plenty of Luciferian qualities. It’s beautiful, and knows it, too. In this the City resembles my cat Charlie, who also is beautiful, and knows it, too.

    But you do SF a minor injustice by not saying that it’s also plenty Ahrimanic. Note its founding, by Gold-Rush miners and prostitutes. That’s pretty sub. Not long ago it hosted the hedonistic, plebian Hippies. Very sub! (But not sub-natural. More like natural, all too natural, Mister Natural!) It was the Hippies that drew me to this place; but alas, by the time I got here, the party was already over. Lately the Bay Area has led a technological revolution in Silicon Valley, based upon computers, which you call sub.

    Speaking of Charlie: cats have long been accused of being Luciferian. I guess that makes dogs Ahrimanic. (They hump legs and lick their butts!) I don’t care; I love them both. What does that make me?

  112. Please forgive if I have failed to trim this down adequately; I have run aground of your forums’ well established boundaries before and been deservedly chastened (many years ago) but I think I’ve trimmed this to be short; I understand if I am saying too much again and have kept a copy of this so I can post it elsewhere if I strayed too far and you prefer not to let it into this conversation thread.

    I’ve spent some decades now frequently woven into the intersection between business use of computing and IT specialists with large helpings of personal hobby exploration. The discussion of the nature of computing brings to mind, however, my early work-related exposure to computing not as a sonarman myself but a submariner and the connection to analog computing. Definition of such special use words varies wildly in context but I’m certain it’s sufficiently publicly available information to say that sonar computing (the sort that can target a surface vessel from many miles away by the sound of its engines and differentiate the crackling noise of krill feeding around you in the bay) were, at least as of somewhat recent decades ago, built with analog computers as part of the system. Specialized analog computers could (can? I believe specialists have continued their refinement) model the humanly observable physical world more quickly/accurately than their digital counterparts. One of the biggest barriers, in some ways at least as large as the specialized complexity of components needed for the devices, is that programming such devices requires types of knowledge and skillsets well in excess of the relatively simple hurdle to clear of learning a high level language, or even assembly language, or the edge of madness to try and interact with machine language to eventually call out CPU instructions and make a modern (last forty years or so) personal computer do anything an end user might call useful. Heavens forgive or comfort the minds that align themselves with the knowledge necessary for those folks who understand and can visualize the actual paths of machine instructions passing through the gates whether they’re aligned more with the abstract mathematics or the physical paths in the CPUs, to be able to design optimizations or adjustments to the underlying architecture.
    Modern volatile memory devices so subnatural their stored 1s and 0s can be flipped on accident by the inhumanly improbably dispersed streams of interstellar subatomic particles give a curious route for minds to draw out elemental influence.
    The absence of analog computing in the apparent imaginings of civilian folks (to be fair, of most any folks civilian or not who have not gone down some avenues) doesn’t mean they aren’t out there, they just aren’t manifested in popular awareness; just not marketable I guess.

  113. “It’s as though they chopped the archetypal human in half at the neck, leaving Ahriman with a mindless body chasing after instinctual cravings, and Lucifer with a bodiless head sneering at the merely material world.”

    For any fan of the movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen” (Terry Gilliam), this is essentially Robin Williams’ “King of the Moon” character.

  114. teresa from hershey #80:
    <>

    Here are two equal and opposite explanations: teleological and chronological.

    The teleological explanation is that when you find what you’re looking for, you stop looking; therefore you find it in the last place that you look. But this assumes that those civilizations were looking for something in particular, and found it.

    The chronological explanation is that when a civilization stops advancing culturally, then its last achievement was its greatest. But this assumes Progress.

  115. JMG and Walt F,
    I was thinking about the same questions as Walt, let me see if I can try to explain them.

    The distinctions that you mention between the subnatural and natural realm are at the edge of research in physics. There are physicists that are trying to show quantum effects at large scales (https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-big-can-the-quantum-world-be-physicists-probe-the-limits-20210818/) .

    Of course, like Walt mentioned there are many such quantum effects that are at a scale visible to us, I can add more – superconductivity, sonoluminescence, even birds sense of direction.

    But what the researchers are trying to find is if there is any size limit to superposition (an object being in two places at once). There are quantum interpretations that posit a scale factor that would collapse the wavefunction if an object gets big enough. In other words, Schrodinger’s cat would be either dead or alive but not both.

    Of course there are also the “mystics” that say that the “observers” (people for sure, but what about cats or ants?) collapse the wavefunction by looking.

    So the important question here is: what are the boundaries between realms? I brought up the info above to show that physicists have no idea and there are lively debates. What do you think? Is it really just a visual thing? I mean ordinary people can understand the behaviour of Euglena viridis when seen through a microscope (feeding, avoiding poisons, going in the light etc).

    And of course, in physics size is relative to other things. For example, the strength of interaction determines the size of nuclei and atoms – the stronger the force, the smaller the object. The temperature determines if we can see quantum effects at human scales (superconductivity, quantum computers). The speed determines the interstellar distances – if you move fast enough, you can bring Alpha Centauri as close as Poughkeepsie. Of course the price you pay is in going out of sync with the rest of the universe. While your clock would have measured fractions of second to get there, for the rest of the universe years would have passed.

    So the other question is of course how do you see the relativity of size work in these realms? Would an alien living in a frozen methane world consider the subnatural realm as completely normal?

    Thank you!

  116. JMG,

    I was going to save some of my comments for the next Magic Monday but the but the synchronicities between what I am reading this week and this article are approaching the absurd. My major reading project for the year has been a deep dive into CS Lewis. The next book on the docket is Miracles and I am seeing some of his other works mentioned in the comments. Although I am rather surprised that The Discarded Image hasn’t been mentioned yet for medieval philosophy. I am alternating other books in between Lewis’ works and right now I am reading Are There People Without a Self. Something I grabbed on a whim after it was mentioned recently on Magic Monday. For whatever reason it jumped the que to the top and I find out that it’s by a Anthrosophist that is quoting Steiner extensively. Strike two. Just a moment ago I read this in the book:

    “A weakening of the Ego, to the point of egolessness, comes about today through computer addiction. An alien power that wants nothing more than to live in the virtual world gets hold of the person slumped in front of the monitor. What is working on the psyche here has a locust nature, eating everything Barr and empty and destroying the will that comes from the Ego.”

    Something must be in the air lately.

    Other Dave

  117. Comrade Simba, funny.

    Kimberly, the occult concept of hell is rather different. After death, once you shed your physical and etheric bodies, you have to process the experiences of the life you’ve just lived in order to shed the astral body, and absorb its lessons into your soul for future reference. That’s heaven, and it’s also hell, depending on what kind of life you’ve lived. Because you’re on the astral plane, where reflections of every act of consciousness are found, you experience each event in your life not just as you perceived it, but as every being affected by your life perceived it. That means that if you were a self-righteous bully, let’s say, you get to experience exactly how your behavior affected everyone who witnessed (and suffered from) it. You get to feel all the pain and shame and grief you caused, and you get to compare that to your feelings at the time. And, of course, you get to do this with Every. Single. Minute. Of. Your. Life. Roasting on a grill is less painful. On the other hand, if your life brought benefits to other people, you get to experience that, too — and that’s a considerably more radiant heaven than the “sitting on a cloud strumming a harp” version. As for the myths of Arachne and Erysichthon, they need to be read as symbolic statements, not literal ones. Arachne became a spider and Erysichthon devoured himself because that’s the kind of people they made themselves into, by their own actions.

    Stephen, ha! No doubt, but Fresno is funnier. As for Ashland, oh dear gods, yes. Self-righteous self-glorification on New Age steroids — well, yes.

    Reese, excellent! That’s just it — behind every claim that X is objectively real is a covert claim that one person’s subjective experience is more real than someone else’s. Science is a collection of such covert claims, and these days, they’re not even very covert any more.

    Simon, hmm! I wonder, then, if WA is your Texas.

    Slithy, okay, thanks for this. It seems to me, though, that it’s not inherently part of ternary logic to require mistakes rather than errors — it’s just part of the way certain programs were written. Is that correct?

    Stephen, “judgmentalism” is the word you’re looking for. Yes, it’s a thing!

    Abraham, why, I suggested such an application in the last paragraph, you know.

    Stuart, that’s a matter of how you choose to define the word “nature.” Steiner uses it to mean “what exists for us,” i.e., what we as human beings are capable of perceiving and understanding. If you use it differently, yes, you’ll have to find a new set of terms for supernatural and subnatural.

    Dermot, thank you.

    Peter, I really, truly want to see more things done with hydraulic computer technology. I”m convinced that it would have astounding capabilities, without tapping into the subnatural.

    Robert, thank you. I’ll definitely look his books up, then.

    Bakbook, a good point — and that game-theory way of thinking about the world is Ahrimanic in nature, too.

    B3rnhard, also a good point. If it’s true that “what you contemplate, you imitate,” cell phone zombies and other permanently plugged-in types are imitating something profoundly antihuman…

    Millicently, you’re most welcome. Naydler’s well worth reading in this regard — a very profound thinker.

    Alex, got it and thank you!

    Asdf, those are important aspects of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic energies, but there are others — they’re not simple forces. As for 1879, that ties into a classic bit of occult literature, the De Septem Secundeis (“On the Seven Secondary Powers”) of Johannes Trithemius, which was written around 1508. Trithemius set out a system of ages of the world, each one 354 years and 4 months long, each ruled by one of the planetary archangels. In November of 1879 the rulership passed from Gabriel, archangel of the Moon, to Michael, archangel of the Sun, who will hold it until February of 2234.

    Neptunesdolphins, that’s useful, since it brings up the question of just how much of what we think of as Reality is simply a function of the fact that most of us — though not all — have brains that work more or less the same way.

    David, thanks for this. Of course they think that people who are blind to the spiritual realm are better. In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is burned at the stake for witchcraft.

    Celadon, thanks for this and so noted.

    CS2, interesting. I’m glad to hear that.

    David, the importation of additional organic matter is an issue, of course. Fortunately, since birth rates worldwide are dropping and global population shows every sign of peaking and tipping over into decline by 2030, that shouldn’t be a problem.

    Stephen, I remember that! You might also like, if you haven’t read it yet, Ambrose Bierce’s memorably weird “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which has a similar theme.

    Neptunesdolphins, I tend to think of the sort of Neopagans you’ve mentioned as Luciferic rather than Ahrimanic — what matters to them is that (in their own minds) their viewpoint is the absolute truth and nothing that contradicts it must be allowed to exist. It’s not even dualism, it’s a rage to annihilate every alternative so that all that remains is absolute unity of belief. As for Zoroastrianism, it started out that dualistic — it’s the oldest of the prophetic religions, the first one to invent the end of the world in which everyone who disagrees with Zoroastrianism will be tormented for the crime of having a different opinion. As for the current Congressional circus, they’re frantic — they put on this big Busby Berkely spetacular, and nobody but the true believers gives a rat’s posterior. If the ratings don’t go up, I expect them to find someone to testify under oath that they personally witnessed Trump throwing puppies into a bonfire while dressed in a vintage SS-Gruppenführer uniform.

    Drhooves, one of the reasons I want to get a conversation going about Ahrimanic and Luciferic evil is that it’s a standard dodge for people infested with one of those to point fingers at the other and say, “That’s evil, therefore I’m good.” Religious fundamentalists dripping with arrogance and hatred shriek abuse at sex- and drug-crazed materialists, and vice versa. I want to encourage people to realize that you can get stupid and destructive in either direction.

    Viduraawakened, all of those are excellent examples, yes. In fact, I was there when systems theory got dropped like a hot rock, because it made it impossible to claim the kind of simplistic causal relationships on which our society’s worldview depends!

    Paradoctor, SF used to be beautiful. The last few times I was there it was stunningly ugly and spattered with human feces. As for cats and dogs, yes, that would also work as a metaphor.

    Robert, hmm! Thank you for this. Maybe it’s time to give a shout-out to analog computing more generally.

    NomadicBeer, fair enough. As for the location of the boundary, that’s a tough one, and not one that I can answer with the information I have. It may be that there’s less a boundary than a transition zone.

    Other Dave, hmm again! Definitely something in the air.

  118. And in other news, French president Emmanuel Macron just spilled the beans on why Joe Biden’s frantic pleas to OPEC to increase its oil production have fallen on deaf ears: because Saudi Arabia, the UAE and probably others are already maxed out and can’t produce any more than they already are. Notice too how one of Dementia Joe’s handlers immediately interrupted and tried to cut Macron off after he let out this unwelcome news, saying “Careful. Maybe we should just step inside … because of the cameras”. Whoops!

    https://www.snafu-solomon.com/2022/06/the-euus-and-alot-of-world-is-gonna-be.html

    To paraphrase one of Jim Kunstler’s favorite sayings, Biden’s reality check is in the mail…

  119. @ whomever: what would be the difference between a fluidic computer and an electronic analog computer such as was used in the “fire control systems” I worked on many years ago in the Air Force? In those you’d use a varying voltage to represent things like speed, angles, rates of change, and so on. They were large, heavy and needed lots of calibration and maintenance, but that sure beat wading through a SE Asian rice paddy while getting shot at.

  120. Greetings all!

    Thanks for a very clear and interesting essay. I have a much better understanding of these 2 types of evil now.

    JMG wrote: “One of the great ironies of the history of ideas is the way that cultures and civilizations go out of their way not to follow up on their greatest intellectual achievements.”

    Why would that be? Fear of the unknown? Fear that their greatest intellectual achievements would undermine the very basis of their culture?

  121. Jeanne and JMG, about ternary computers.

    There were also analog computers in the 40s and 50s. They have definite advantages for modeling physical phenomena (because they don’t have to map a real value to a string of bits).

    One area that I looked into and it also seem forgotten now is fuzzy logic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_logic). This is kind of a clumsy way to build an analog computer on top of a digital one.
    Basically everything is more or less true. One example is: what is a chair? Is a stump a chair? You can say a stump is .1 chair. What about a stool (.6) etc.
    This kind of logic allows us to carry doubt and uncertainty with us through the calculations. For example, how do we answer this question: do we have enough chairs for all guests? We can go through all the sums, adding buckets, logs, etc and decide if the result is close enough to 1 (certainty) that we are happy about it.

  122. “Kimberly, the occult concept of hell is rather different. After death, once you shed your physical and etheric bodies, you have to process the experiences of the life you’ve just lived in order to shed the astral body, and absorb its lessons into your soul for future reference. That’s heaven, and it’s also hell, depending on what kind of life you’ve lived. Because you’re on the astral plane, where reflections of every act of consciousness are found, you experience each event in your life not just as you perceived it, but as every being affected by your life perceived it. That means that if you were a self-righteous bully, let’s say, you get to experience exactly how your behavior affected everyone who witnessed (and suffered from) it. You get to feel all the pain and shame and grief you caused, and you get to compare that to your feelings at the time. And, of course, you get to do this with Every. Single. Minute. Of. Your. Life. Roasting on a grill is less painful. On the other hand, if your life brought benefits to other people, you get to experience that, too — and that’s a considerably more radiant heaven than the “sitting on a cloud strumming a harp” version. As for the myths of Arachne and Erysichthon, they need to be read as symbolic statements, not literal ones. Arachne became a spider and Erysichthon devoured himself because that’s the kind of people they made themselves into, by their own actions.”

    What happens to those people who were truly atrocious people in one part of life, and then became better people later in life? I confess the idea of reliving my younger years, as those around me experienced it, is a quite terrifying at best, but these days I think I’ve helped a lot of people, and I’m not the self-righteous bully I was in those years anymore. Is there any way to make the afterlife experience a lot less painful if I know I royally fracked up for part of my life?

  123. JMG, thank you for this explication of things philosophical from the supernatural to the subnatural. Someone (was it you?) brought up C.S. Lewis’ “educational” fiction. Funny no one mentioned his most popular work “Screwtape Letters.” It may be purely the product of his imagination based on decades of study of Medieval thought, but some alternative psychiatrists will tell you there’s an awful lot of truth in it. As in: there really are demons that afflict almost everyone, and this is what they do.

    On the nature of reality being mediated by our perceptions (and who knows what is affecting what), as someone who spent a fair amount of time doing Buddhist meditation, I know from personal experience that whatever I perceive seems to want to squirm this way and that to avoid getting “nailed” by the kinds of perception one has at various meditative “levels.” Over enough time spent in meditation, you can actually feel it, like waves of heat in the desert.

    On a related note, one time I sat down to meditate for an hour. I sat down, and then I got up. An hour had passed, but I hadn’t experienced any time passing. What’s up with that? Was I zipped past that hour? Did it go away for me only? Was I rendered unconscious (it surely didn’t seem so) for an hour? Was I in a trance of higher awareness where I couldn’t perceive time passing? No explanation of the event makes any sense to me. I can say it freaked me out a modest amount, and afterwards whenever I went to meditate, it was gingerly, like someone who is walking with a stubbed toe.

    And you can soak in states of mind from your teachers if you are open to it, and, boy, that’s some interesting stuff! Particularly if you are at a ten-day long meditation practice that they are leading. It took me weeks after one such retreat to return to normal, the one I remember most vividly. There were others I went to with different resulting effects. Whethe that is a good thing (returning to normal) or not, I couldn’t say. But I could easily understand how, in that blissful state of mind, a person could make some huge blunders and make the excuse “enlightenment made me do it.” And I have seen that sort of thing happen: the blunders and the excuse. There’s a name for it in Buddhism, a particular form of ego-inflation (to use a Jungian referent instead of the Buddhist name). Too much floaty unity? Not enough earth-centered hedonism to balance it? Possibly.

    There’s a Gareth Wilson (is that the name) cartoon that appeared in “The New Yorker” decades ago. A rumpled looking young monk it talking to an equally rumpled looking much older monk about how bliss-filled he felt asking if it got better from here. The older monk replied: “You’ll get over it.” Clearly meaning that in some way if the younger monk stuck with it, he’d get over all that bliss (in some fashion or other). Was the cartoonist a realized Buddha? Because I think that’s the advice the Buddha would have for any similar young acorn of a monk.

    So, where’s the reality in any of that, the Kantian limit if you will?

    Tales of what happened to various folks in Tibet speak of all sorts of ways that advanced practitioners bend the rules of how we get along in the so-called three-dimensional world we call reality. Too many tales with too many very specific details for me to completely discount them. Modern ones, ancient ones, things that happened to people I know, and so forth. So whatever we laughingly call “reality” is stranger than we know, and to get Shakespearian or Kantian (or Madhyamikan) for a moment, it is stranger than we CAN know. We are surrounded by marvels and wonders and we persuade ourselves that it’s all the same boring crap. Au contraire. I beg to differ, even if I forget also.

  124. @Slithy Toves, #94; @JMG, #128

    I fail to see how this can translate to the distinction between binary logic vs trinary logic, but…

    In the context of a (SQL) Database System, NULL is a well defined symbol that can be best understood in contraposision to another symbol: EMPTY. Both are positive values that signify lack of information; the meaning of NULL is “we declare the requested information does not exist” while EMPTY’s is “we declare the requested information is not in the system”. Think of a customer database that include contact information. A phone number marked as NULL means the customer has declined to provide one, while EMPTY means the customer has not yet provided one. The fact this is not used in this fashion in many systems is ultimately a consequence of SQL creators reusing the label N-U-L-L, which already had a different meaning in older languages.

    In general purpose languages, NULL was a kludge meant to fix the indirection problem. The problem is, “I don’t give you the information you need, but the memory address where to find it”. NULL was a gentlemen agreement to never write anything at position zero, so that the tiny/subnatural pizza delivery guy does not find himself driving around in the seek of “Fake St. #123”. In this sense, its meaning is closer to Database’s EMPTY. But anyways, custom devolved into law, and now most operative systems will torpedo your program if you try to read/write to memory address zero, so Java has this built-in mechanism that second guesses you every time you try to do anything, and throws the NullPointerException (among other things) as needed. The fact that the program crashed because of that… is indeed an error, and a rookie one. It is like claiming that the damned, loud fire alarm burned your home to the ground.

  125. Robert Gibson – I think you’re certainly right about subjectivity. While it might be true what I wrote and there’s something to gain from such considerations, it completely misses the point that while we can say a lot of fancy intellectual stuff about photons and atoms and stuff, we know next to nothing about them. We have no knowledge about the nature of their existence, we don’t know what they are and I think we also don’t know what the nature of the laws that govern the world of photons and their quantum companions is. I mean, what’s that, a “law of nature”? Certainly not a formula written on a sheet of paper… If you prickle open a part of nature and try to study it’s interior, at some point you realize that you gaze into a glaring abyss.

    But we do know what red is, for sure. Even in perfect darkness, we can dream of a red rose. There seem to be laws that govern this subjective world and maybe it’s possible to deconstruct our subjective perception in the same way it’s possible to do with our of perception of the external world, I don’t know. But a red rose is something to see, anyway. What’s more real, then?

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  126. This piece over at The Convivial Society seems curiously appropriate:

    At the time, Alang’s observations about the desires we bring to our interactions with smart speakers, confessional apps, and social media reinforced my sense that digital technologies were re-enchanting our world. In various contexts I’ve argued that the assortment of technologies structuring our experience—including, for example, AI assistants, predictive algorithms, automated tools, and smart devices—serve to reanimate the seemingly mute, mechanical, and unresponsive material landscape of technological modernity. This digitally re-enchanted world will flatter us by its seeming attentiveness to our solicitations, by its apparent anticipations of our desires, and perhaps even by its beguiling eloquence. What a LaMDA-like agent contributes to the digitally re-enchanted world may best be framed as the presence of what Alang called “an ideal Other,” which perhaps explains why a priest was so enthralled by it.

    https://theconvivialsociety.substack.com/p/lamda-lemoine-and-the-allures-of

    No doubt, if this becomes the case, it will be to a truly enchanted world as high fructose corn syrup is to food.

  127. Hey JMG

    I would go even further, and suggest that many electronic devices could be unintentionally and haphazardly acting like talismans in the natural/renaissance magic sense.
    Think about it, a computer contains copper, steel, gold, silver, lead and tin in varying amounts, all of which are used to draw in planetary influence from the classical planets. And along with them the wild card rare earth metals which have god knows what occult influence but could very well correspond to the new planets.
    Add to that the fact they contain quartz, which hold onto etheric energy very well, along with other crystals and liquid capacitors which presumably can do the same thing.
    And of course images both from the screen and the mathematical patterns of binary logic cant be that different from the images and magic squares used in traditional talismans/gamahes.
    The only fly in the ointment that this idea has for the demonic influence theory is that iron repels most spirits.

  128. “Luciferic evil is spiritual pride, the conviction that you’re better than everyone else and nothing in the world is good enough for you;”

    JMG is this why modern western pundits, influencers, talking heads, (the chattering class) has both Protestant Zeal and Anti-System Bias (i.e. anti institutions)? They simply believe nothing is good enough because nothing is perfect.

  129. “It’s one of the consistent features of Ahrimanic evil, furthermore, that it defines the world in terms of binaries. (Luciferic evil, by contrast, has false unities as its keynote, and the Michael current always resolves unities and binaries into ternaries, threefold patterns of balance.) To the Ahrimanic mind, it’s always this or that, yes or no, me or you, desirable or hateful…1 or 0.”

    This makes it sound as if Pluto naturally falls into Ahrimanic evil; and that the wild explosion of Ahrimanic evil over the past century or so has been caused by Pluto doing what Pluto does best, and running to extremes. Hmm.

  130. “As for hell, what about heaven? I’ve noticed that people are a lot more willing and able to describe the former than the latter. ”

    I noticed that too, and failed to get an answer from one of my more religious friends. His best guess was it was like earth, but without the pain, no thistles, no mosquitoes, etc. Not very imaginative compared to Dante.

    My impression was that Heaven would consist of little more than flitting from cloud to cloud asking everyone you meet “Isn’t God great today?” That would get old in an hour, I don’t think I’m cut out for that version of heaven. Fortunately I’m not a believer, so right or wrong I won’t have to deal with it.

    In gravity I trust. It always lets me down at the same rate every time, and it only has one commandment, F=G(M1)(M2)/r^2. I told that to the last missionary to show up at my door, he left very promptly.

  131. Sardaukar, yes, I read of that. Once that reality sinks in, things are going to get hairy.

    Karim, oh, it’s not just fear. Every culture puts most of its efforts into trying to confirm the basic assumptions it has about the universe, and so its supreme achievement usually amounts to proving that those assumptions are dead wrong. Crisis follows promptly.

    NomadicBeer, interesting. I’d be more interested in something that was analog all the way down.

    Anonymous, you have the chance while you’re still living to work through some of that process, so it’s not so difficult after you’re dead. The religious habit of confession is one way to do that; another is the system of spiritual alchemy taught by the Order of Spiritual Alchemy, which involves sustained reflection and journaling on the less pleasant parts of your past. There are other options. The whole point of repentance is that what you deal with now, you won’t have to slog through later on.

    Clarke, exactly. The world is incomprehensibly weird; that’s why we’re sheltered from its full weirdness by the filters of our senses and our minds.

    Cliff, that’s certainly one way to describe it. I’d say that the digitally reenchanted world has the same relation to the enchanted world that a blow-up sex doll has to a human lover.

    J.L.Mc12, iron repels some spirits but not others. It doesn’t bother most demonic beings at all…

    GlassHammer, exactly!

    Anonymous, as I see it, Pluto is responsible for amping both Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces. It’s the planet that opposes unity and drives things to the extremes, and so it’s pushing both extremes.

  132. @Robert Gibson #105:
    Some philosopher – I thought it was Robert Almeder in Harmless Naturalism, but now can’t find it – once proposed the thought experiment in which an expert in neuroscience, who knew absolutely everything about how the brain worked, was raised from birth in a room with no colors, only black, white, and gray. Finally someone gives her the first banana she’s ever seen, but it is a BLUE banana. People who deny the existence or importance of qualia are required to believe that, given her knowledge, she would recognize that the banana was blue, not yellow, and that they were trying to fool her.

    I, like the philosopher, am not sure. You and I both agree on what objects are blue and what objects are red. But how can we know that my perception when I see a blueberry is not yours when you see a strawberry, and vice versa? You can’t, I suspect. You could show me a red card and I’d identify it as red and you’d think we were in agreement, not realizing that I was seeing blue. There are card tests which have a circle full of little circles of one color family, except for some little circles of another color family that form the shape of a big numeral. Some people can’t see the numbers and you then can know that they have some kind of color blindness or insensitivity that makes them see two colors as the same. But if they did see them as different, only a different KIND of different, how could you know?

    An argument that such a thing couldn’t be common is based on the fact that colors generally tend to affect people in consistent ways. We tend to find blue and green calming, red stress-inducing. If half the population saw the sky and grass as red, blood as blue, you probably wouldn’t be able to document consistent emotional reactions to colors. OTOH, differences of qualia could explain why a few people like to decorate with colors that are just hideous. Objectively speaking, of course. 😉

  133. I wonder if the two lunar nodes, Rahu (North Node) and Ketu (South Node) would correspond to Ahriman and Lucifer. Rahu is all about increase, which seems like Ahriman, but is considered the head, which would be Luciferian. Ketu is the Ahriman body, but it is known for shrinking things. So while they are similar, they are not.

    However, the nodes are where eclipses take place, and eclipses are considered malefic, if not downright evil.

    The next eclipses I should pay attention and see if I am suffering from a “better than thou” attitude or the need to get all hedonistic and see if it corresponds with the North or South Node.

  134. @JMG
    Re: the shifting east of the Luciferian and Ahrimanic capitals

    Hmmm… I don’t know much about Dallas, so I can’t comment on it as the Ahrimanic capital, but I’ll take your word for it.

    As for the Luciferian: Why does it have to be north of there? Based on what I’ve heard of the folks moving there, I’d definitely put my money on Austin!

  135. Glasshammer @141… “modern western pundits, influencers, talking heads, (the chattering class) has both Protestant Zeal and Anti-System Bias (i.e. anti institutions)”

    Since when are the PMC anti-institutionalists? These folks spend their adult lives going from think tank to agency to Govt. department to academia. As for “Protestant Zeal”, it is not apparent to me that most of this class believes in much of anything beyond the promoting of their own class interests. In the book he wrote about the passage of NAFTA, Jeff Faux recounted a young lady journalist telling him that he, Faux, just didn’t get it. “We have to help Salinas”, then president of Mexico because Salinas had studied at Harvard and was therefore “one of us.” Never mind the probable effects of the proposed treaty on the citizens of three countries.

  136. >It would be helpful if Fresno, which is roughly halfway between the two, was a hotbed of the third, balancing factor

    Perhaps, just maybe, you’re thinking about Bakersfield instead. Are you – a closet Okie? Maybe there’s a few more orthogonal dimensions of this map of evil you’re drawing for us? The basis vectors of evil. The Clifford Algebra of evil. Ok, I’ll stop now.

    You’re not the first person to remark on how the internet seems to encourage certain behaviors. You know, wokery didn’t really get going until adoption of the internet crossed some threshold from the 00s to the 10s. And I would refer you to an old Avenue Q song, written years ago – https://yewtu.be/watch?v=LTJvdGcb7Fs

  137. Archdruid,

    So does this mean the greatest technical achievements of our civilization, the ones that will actually benefit the future, are yet to come?

    Regards,

    Varun

  138. On the north / south city metaphor for Lucifer / Ahriman: anyone else notice that Victorian London was approximately north of Belle Epoque Paris?

  139. JMG,

    I agree with your assessment here. In fact, back in the 90’s Microsoft used to use a “troolean” (three-value Boolean) logic system in its Windows libraries (which developers used to write programs for Windows). The three values were True, False, and Error, with the last indicating something had gone wrong and you needed to stop and handle it.

    (It didn’t work very well, but that’s because it was rather shoddily bolted on top of what was basically a binary logic system.)

    CR Patiño,

    Yeah, that’s another part of why I fundamentally disagreed with the analogy. It just didn’t prove what Loon thought it did.

  140. Pretty good timing with this weeks article! There was also a similarly themed topic in Waldorf Today, a newsletter aimed at giving more information about Waldorf education, which is connected to Steiner and modern day Anthroposophy. If you JMG, or anyone else are so inclined, give the article a read. It’s certainly a worthwhile perspective.

    My personal with Anthoposophists was through Waldorf Education as some were attempting to establish it in China. The result was my being very turned off from those involved. I showed up at a school while they were offering a week long camp and met a woman, heavily involved in anthroposophy. She felt since the school was looking for an English teacher and I showed up looking for different English teaching opportunities in China and wanted my children to be involved in Waldorf education that it was a sign from god. Later, the school did make me an offer, which I did discuss with the woman mentioned above. It was barely enough to cover my expenses. Given that I knew my family and I would have to leave China at some point I had to reject the offer. I explained this to the woman in email, as she had asked me to follow up with her, and I never got a response. We later found a Waldorf school just opening up in the city we had been living in, where I was able to make a living which did eventually get all of us out. That to me was a much more balanced option then the anthroposophists “sign from god.”

    Anyways, I really appreciated just the insights of virtues being balanced by two evils. That by itself will require a lot of thought on my part before I can even begin comprehending subnatural and supernatural being opposite end points of the natural, but it is all very fascinating and understanding it, and playing with those ideas opens up lots of other possibilities.

  141. Also, I just realized that something I learned recently is applicable here:

    The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics is often presented in a naive form of saying that, prior to observation, all possible outcomes are true simultaneously (e.g. the cat is both dead and alive until someone checks), and then one is randomly selected when it’s observed, but that’s not what the original physicists in Copenhagen were trying to say. Instead their actual views were more about not extending reason beyond what is in-principle observable.

    In particular, we should avoid describing of systems in terms of both of two aspects that can’t possibly be observed at the same time: we can think of a beam of light has having a certain set of frequencies, or we can think of it as having a certain number of photons, but these are fundamentally incompatible descriptions, and trying to think of it as having both quantities at the same time is incoherent. In particular, any thought experiment involving knowing both quantities simultaneously is invalid.

    So on the actual Copenhagen view, the question what the state of a quantum system is prior to observation of some sort is an invalid question. Since per hypothesi we have not yet observed the system, there is in-principle no way for us to know the state of the system, and therefore it’s incorrect to think of the system has having a well-defined state at all. (The randomness of quantum systems is a consequence of this on the Copenhagen view.)

    Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist until observed. Buddhist logic seems more appropriate to handle what’s going on here: not this, not that, not both, not neither.

    The implications of this logic absolutely eviscerates the kind of mechanistic universe that modern philosophy has always supposed, so of course it’s been largely ignored or bowdlerized into something more palatable, like the naive version you usually see. We moderns can just barely handle the Universe being made up of a bunch of mini-roulette wheels spitting out random outcomes as needed. We can sort of handle the idea that there are certain things we can’t know due to human frailty.

    But what the Copenhagen interpretation suggests is something even more radical, something that leaves us blanching but which I suspect would have left Kant and Schopenhauer saying, “Told you.”

  142. Jon, that’s a fascinating suggestion!

    Blue Sun, all I know is that the Luciferic capital always does seem to be north of the Ahrimanic capital, at least in the northern hemisphere.

    Owen, I knew a bunch of Wiccans in Seattle whose tradition came from Bakersfield, for whatever that’s worth.

    Varun, not necessarily. I’ve thought for some time that organic agriculture, solar water heaters, and the basic knowledge of sanitation would turn out to be the great contributions our civilization makes to the far future.

    Kfish, ha! That’s quite accurate, of course.

    Slithy, trust Microsoft to do something that half-rumped.

    Prizm, that’s the damnable thing about Anthroposophy. It attracts people who are astonishingly good at chasing people away from Anthroposophy. I seriously considered getting deep into Steiner when I was doing my first stint at college, back in the very early 1980s, but every Anthroposophist I met then was angry, dogmatic, and thoroughly unpleasant — so I pursued the Golden Dawn tradition instead.

    Slithy, fascinating. The standard dumbed-down version of the Copenhagen interpretation has always seemed utterly incoherent to me, because, er, there’s an observer present in the box already: the cat. If you or I can cause a quantum function to collapse by observing it, after all, so can the cat:

    Reframe it as “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent” and it makes much more sense — and yes, Kant and Schopenhauer are sitting there at the finish line sipping their Gatorade and saying “What took you so long?”

  143. To follow-up my last, already-lengthy comment, I think the original Copenhagen physicists also stopped short of where they should have: they postulated a “Heisenberg cut” where the bizarre logic of the quantum world gave way to the logic of the ordinary world. Of course they never settled on where the cut was.

    However, they were on record as suggesting that their views implied that atoms don’t objectively exist, only “atom-clicks” on the machines doing the measuring. And from what I’ve been told, their views also implied a role for free will in the physical world: you apparently run into theoretical problems if you try to model a scientist running one of two experiments, measuring incompatible quantities, as itself a purely-physical system.

    To my mind all this together is a major vindication of Schopenhauer. (Of course there are other interpretations, but from what I’ve gathered all of them have major problems.)

  144. @JMG #129:
    Ah, thanks!

    And of course, that claim is not necessarily incorrect, depending on how it’s framed; if, for instance, a thousand people’s individual subjective experiences of a particular phenomenon pretty much align with each other but not much with the subjective experience of a single other person, the experience of the thousand would seem more likely to contribute to correct predictions of a given person’s subjective experience than the experience of the one. In that sense, the majority opinion would be more “real”, and _possibly_ more likely to be a better if still immensely imperfect approximation of the underlying objective reality, or party of it, at least.

    Of course, Plato’s cave (among other things) comes to mind. Pondering on that now, in this context, though, it does seem that both groups have something to contribute. What is objectively real? Perhaps the one who ventured outside has the right of it, that the shadows in the cave are but shallow representations of the Truth… or perhaps the one who ventured “outside” ventured into a pocket of _interesting_ gas within the cave and had a visionary experience. Of course, properly handled, that could still give clues to reality — and, in any case, are not the shadows, the light they are cast with, and the wall they are cast upon not just as much a part of reality as whatever’s casting them?

    Hm. I think I may have been wandering a bit there; I _am_ fairly tired at the moment. In any case, though, with no possible way to see outside our subjective experiences, we can’t know what is or isn’t more real, for sure, merely try and change our perceptions and the things we perceive to try to make good, or at the very least useful, guesses. That, I’d say, could describe the core of science, trying to get as good a set of guesses about the underlying reality as we can from our subjective experiences. When lowercase-s science is working well, I think I can indeed make justified claims about the relative reality relations of different people’s subjective experiences, at the very least in the sense of better predicting what future subjective experiences will be.

    Of course, there is also capital-S Science, Scientism, in which evidence only matters when it’s in service of doctrine and a white coat and a fancy piece of paper automatically give the bearer’s subjective experiences, provided they, too stay within doctrine, more weight of reality than experiences from those without such things, even when the latter would _appear_ to have more support.

    That’s itself quite anti-science, of course — but humans are humans, and the actual methods of science no more inoculate the Priests of Progress against corruption than the doctrines of Catholicism prevented some popes from deciding that it was actually _totally_ okay for them, while in office as pope, to run brothels, have their political opponents murdered, and have sex not just at all but with their _very_ close relatives.

    Also, regarding your reply to Kimberly, in the same comment, about afterlives:
    Interesting; I think that’s the most detail I recall reading you go into on it.
    I would guess that, although that’s the core task that, whatever the details, has to be accomplished to complete the life, and the basic experience would be just that, bare-bones, the details can be modified based on interactions in the life with some nonhuman beings?

    That is, if one followed a religion, the experience would be colored by that religion’s concept of the afterlife, and for many religions with active deities, those deities could provide guidance to make the processing more effective and possibly, depending on the deity, the relationship one has to them, and how one lived one’s life, easier or harder and more or less pleasant. (And if one had too many unwise dealings with members of a certain other class of nonhuman entity, I’d guess they’d also get a chance to get involved, leading to a much less pleasant but quite possible not at all more effective time between lives.)

    So, for instance a Christian who was a good person might get escorted through by angels offering commentary (and possibly, indeed, background harp music), while those requiring more chastisement might indeed have a griddle around for atmosphere and a “devil”, looking suspiciously like a an angel in a red costume with a pitchfork, making snide (but ultimately constructive) comments about how they messed up. Though, of course, I highly doubt that the experience would be _literally_ that, rather than something not easily squishable into our material brains.

    (My expectations for myself, though I hope it’ll be quite some time yet before I find out for sure, are very much not those in the above paragraph, as my own faith is a version of Kemetism, but I thought the pop-Christian imagery might be useful to draw on there for illustrating the point.)

    Still the same comment, regarding your reply to Peter:
    I think I remember seeing a while back on the website Atomic Rockets, which has a lot of resources for science fiction, an interesting bit on the potential capabilities of hydraulic computers, and some experiments that had been done — but unfortunately, the website appears to be down at the moment, so I can’t even confirm my memory, much less link to the section.

    I am now wondering about relay logic computers, though. They’re still based on moving specifically electrons, so not _as_ separate from the subnatural as a hydraulic computer, but with those electrons moving in large groups with, as I currently understand it, significantly _less_ connection with the subnatural than even a tube-based computer. Additionally, while a simple relay would still be on/off binary, a not-that-much-more complex relay could throw in two different directions or rest in a neutral depending on whether it received a positive, negative, or grounded/floating control voltage.

    My level of computer science knowledge is just about at the level to say “Hm, yes, that seems possible, and there’s probably something interesting that could be done with it”, though, and not enough to put forth much in the way of ideas for what those interesting things might _be_.

  145. I used to work at one of those data centers. That building supposedly used more energy than any other building in a city of 3 million people. On a different note, supposedly half of Internet traffic is on fake sites that put up per click ads that bots and click farms visit to run up ad charges. Much money being pumped out without any human involvement.

  146. Sardaukar
    Interesting: I read the linked article that Macron was leaking the Saudi, UAE info to force Biden to raise US production. and that they could if only Trump or someone else was there. I follow the oil scene fairly closely on peakoilbarrel. com, and there is nowhere near unanimity as to whether this could even be done. The ” optomists” think maybe a couple of million barrels per day for a few years, but most of them, especially those in the business, think not. Of course Biden has done everything he could to harm the industry until he realized he needed it. Fun and games.

  147. What a great topic. I think this helps explain why, over the years, of the friends I have lost, I have lost nearly all of them over text messaging and posts and not a single one due to an in-person or phone conversation. I’ve also found that, when arguing with someone online, the only way to repair the relationship is to get out of the online space.

  148. Very interesting the idea of density relating to level of being. I wonder about a point from else where in your writings that being in the current phase of the universe having three bodies, in the human case material, etheric, and astral. Could it figure that being which don’t yet have an astral soul have a quantum body? If we suppose a subnatural plane it might be so, but it would be removed enough from us that we could barely know what that means excepting by odd abstractions. It seems that life is stuffed with particularly quantum phenomena on the scale of cellular function; which cells being so small shouldn’t seem too odd. I’d guess that a quantum body would be what we call a wave function, but at the current phase of spiritual evolution the wave function would have to resolve into a material event before it could participate with an astral body. Similarly the demands of a mental body may be too vast to be grounded in a material body under current conditions.

    Computers, are not merely quantum phenomena by way of a transistor, indeed many things are… but beyond that they are a technique to resolve these effects into discrete material events, bit flips. The speculation that the quantum nature of the transistor is tainting computing as a technology is interesting, yet there are still so many factors that bear considering I feel like some key linking detail is missing from this picture.

    Consider, there are quantum phenomena all about out of which many properties of material existence arise as emergent phenomena, and in many such cases, in particular I am thinking of photosynthesis, I don’t have demonic associations. But, there is lore that when photosynthesis first happened it really properly killed off much life, because of oxygen pollution. Perhaps we could be dealing with an ‘invasive species’ or ‘disruptive innovation’ sort of problem? In any case the link between quantum effects being channeled to cause distance phenomena on that material plane and Ahrimanic influence in still vague.

    The descriptions of the ills we observe from the internet are impressive, but its association with ‘progress’ has a decidedly Luciferic tone to me. Building on my suggestion earlier we may be dealing with a ecological issue, a new phenomena that disrupts the conditions humans as extant had adapted to it a way we are now flailing to respond to, with massive outpouring of opportunity for people to drive off either side of the road to Lucifarian or Ahrimanic ditches. The scattering, distracting, hedonisting element of the internet is Ahrimanic, but I wonder if that is also opportunism; growing up I had a pet salamander who ate so many crickets on day his feet couldn’t reach the ground and sat there like a green foot ball until slimming down and recovering several days later, this species of salamander is so unlikely in nature to encounter a terrarium stocked with a months supply of crickets that there had been no need to evolve a ‘stop eatting’ instinct. Similarly, I struggle with not being prepared with an instinct to ‘stop reading obscure biographical detains about Nietzsche and go to bed’ when I have access to arbitrary large supply of information, smut, forum trolling, meme songs all explote neighboring vunerabulities. We have created an environment which we weren’t born to as a species. Does the transistor itself put a subtle influence on this? Maybe… I feel satisfied with other explanations, but those very explinations, viewed from a wider zoom might themselves be a result, by way of harmonics on other planes, of quantum influence.

    Isolation!!! The quantum effects out science is currently interested in are ones that happen when the opertunities for causal interaction between the quantum system and the larger cosmos is very tightly filtered. That’s why coldness associates with so many experiments, thermal interference causes the systems to interact and go materialistic. But a part of the universe causally isolated from another part is the common factor where quantum paradox shows up. Small microcosms isolated from macrocosmic influence… which I do figure is Ahrimanic habitat. The internet is both connecting and isolating… so by theory of correspondence, yeah I’m smelling what you’re stepping in.

    So I’m wrestling with this idea here, and I think it circles back to a necessity of scale. Sure logic gates can be made out of legos if you wanna, but if your going to make a technology that can do billions of trillions of logical interactions all the time over the whole world, there is not enough legos! Anything big flipping switches cannot do it. A hydrolic computer might do wonderious things, but it cannot broadcast onlyfans to the wildest edges of the populated world; it cannot encode enough bits to rickroll millions; it cannot create the resolution of sensory forgery that it takes to make a virtual world detailed enough to captivate humanities primal appetites in mass. Because of scale, the bits for analogue computers are too big to make a billion trillion clockwork logic gates, and a trillion trillion punch cards. Whose going to stay up all night loading punch cards into a loom to weave some smut for a late night wank? Ok, some people might do that, but most people would just go hire an escort or something if that were so very thirsty. But, if you can ride the line of the material and the subnatural plane you can do all those things. That’s what Ahrimanic evil is, the reality of the pettieness of small opertunities, and the personality that cases over the world.

  149. @Nachtgurke #138 “…while we can say a lot of fancy intellectual stuff about photons and atoms and stuff, we know next to nothing about them. We have no knowledge about the nature of their existence, we don’t know what they are and I think we also don’t know what the nature of the laws that govern the world of photons and their quantum companions is. I mean, what’s that, a “law of nature”? Certainly not a formula written on a sheet of paper… If you prickle open a part of nature and try to study it’s interior, at some point you realize that you gaze into a glaring abyss…”

    Very well put indeed! If it came to a demo I might carry a placard saying:

    “Quanta – procedural; Qualia – essential”!

    Or to try an analogy between language and the All: physics is its grammar and quality its vocabulary.

  150. @Apteryx #145 “You and I both agree on what objects are blue and what objects are red. But how can we know that my perception when I see a blueberry is not yours when you see a strawberry, and vice versa? You can’t, I suspect.”

    I agree – we can’t know. One answer I might give, is that though we don’t know, we normally have a workaday sort of faith that we’re talking about more or less the same things when we mention aesthetic matters including those which involve colour. Not that the overlap between views is absolute – but it’s sort of majoritarian. But there’s also have a different approach which we “essentialists” (if that’s a word) have up our sleeves:

    We can ask: suppose subjective colour-experiences were quite random: would life be as it is? I think not; I think such aspects of life as art history, interior decoration, etc, would be unrecognizably different from what they are.

    You may say that this suggestion, too, is based on faith…

  151. JMG,

    Having travelled around quite a lot around Western Australia, the comparison with Texas seems fitting (at least what I imagine Texas to be like). Although, Western Australia is four times as big as Texas with 1/10th the population. So, maybe a bit of a Wyoming vibe too. There’s a lotta leg room over there.

  152. DearJMG, if I may.
    Those who were around the Chaos magic scene during the 90’s will probably remember this working to exorcise demons in the net :http://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/chaos/texts/demonet.html
    By the same time the Dalai Lama had a room full of computers running mantras non stop
    Apart from that, it has become quite common for Shinto priests to bless computers and cell phones. . The same happens in Russia (https://www.indiatimes.com/technology/news/images-of-russian-priest-blessing-pc-with-holy-water-to-fight-ransomware-attack-have-gone-viral-321973.html).
    It seems that a lot of spiritual traditions are suspicious of computers and working to sever its ties to the demonic realm.
    Whispers

  153. We Americans never do anything half-way and that includes decline. Our decline is energetic and committed; it is full-spectrum decline. It is moral, spiritual, artistic, political, social, military, economic, and legal. The Romans previously established the gold-standard of decline but now the US is showing the world that it is indeed, the best at everything.

  154. Hello from a medium-term lurker and reader. Fascinating ideas being thrown around here, but I cannot pretend that I entirely follow all of them!

    Anyway, I would be interested to hear any thoughts about the rise of ‘apps’ (specifically the actual smartphone based mini-programs, not the simple wider usage to rename a conventional computer program as an app).

    Just about every company seems to have one that they are pushing you to use, and the banks seem to me to be the worst offenders of all. All good things are there to be had, but only via the app. So, does this fit into this current subnatural, demonic discussion, or does it form part of earlier discussions here regarding the looming demise of the internet as we have known it? Are bankers demonic, or simply trying to reduce the costs of running old fashioned online access?

  155. This may be wandering off topic a bit, but since you described your view of what happens after you die as being an astral review of your life’s good and bad behavior, which is to be followed at some point by the death of your astral body and personality from this lifetime, do you think people in fact get to reunite on the astral plane with their loved ones from this lifetime before they must “die” again and move on to a different existence? If so, at what stage does that occur, and is it very brief or possibly prolonged? Many people having near-death experiences or on their deathbeds report seeing loved ones who had died decades before, waiting with open arms to receive them. Do you believe that those loved ones are real, or that they are just astral ghosts/images that will not possess the actual person’s intelligence and spirit?

  156. @JMG 155: “If you or I can cause a quantum function to collapse by observing it, after all, so can the cat.”

    Physicist Jim Al-Khalili once explained (tongue firmly in cheek) that the cat did not have a PhD so was not a qualified observer.

  157. Wow, this isn’t the post that I expected, but I enjoyed it, I’ve become a Rudolf Steiner-appreciator through a semi-obscure alternative-Christian blogger by the name of Bruce Charlton who has done a lot of riffing on Steiner’s ideas:

    https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2021/04/sorath-is-ascendant-but-is-sorath.html

    @Peter Van Erp (aka Peter Khan):

    “annointed JMG as court astrologer for the Republic of New England and the Maritimes”

    Hey, you guys are into the Greater New England unification idea too, I knew I liked you! If this is an open-invitation gathering I would have liked to have attended.

    Thanks to everyone who replied to my query about woodstoves, you’ve gotten me considering it even more seriously than I was, it seems pretty clear that the answer is YES, you can heat a home with one provided you acknowledge a few limitations.

    My question is for @TamHob who said “The biggest issue is mould so all the bedroom windows are opened” – sorry, “mould”, how do you mean, is it some issue with the interaction between cold and warm air?

  158. The following, from Ted Anton’s Eros, Magic, and the Murder of Professor Culianu, seems relevant to this discussion.

    “The goal of the term, [Culianu] said in the final meeting of Religion and Science, was to understand how authors create fictional worlds to unlearn what this world is supposed to look like. Imagination is a form of perception. It isn’t that fantastical realities exist in the mind, but that the real world is fantastical and multidimensional. Our inability to perceive this comes only from the limits of our minds.” (p. 171)

    (Thank you, John, for suggesting this book.)

  159. JMG wrote:
    Neptunesdolphins, I tend to think of the sort of Neopagans you’ve mentioned as Luciferic rather than Ahrimanic — what matters to them is that (in their own minds) their viewpoint is the absolute truth and nothing that contradicts it must be allowed to exist. It’s not even dualism, it’s a rage to annihilate every alternative so that all that remains is absolute unity of belief.

    Me: So that Luciferic Evil a total unity. Is there anything written on the two evils? Also, what happens to people who are fully engaged in Luciferic evil? Do they burn out or wither away? What happens to the rage?

    I can feel it from them, so I stay away.

  160. starfish @ 166, An energetic and committed decline may be no bad thing. I suspect that nothing less will serve to convince believers in the Church of Progress, of all political persuasions, that their personal survival and state of being respected will depend on making themselves useful.

  161. Yes indeed. Here is another way of thinking of it– Cronus represents primordial Intellect; Rhea, his wife, primordial Soul or Life. Intellect without Life is Luciferic evil– caught in unending reflection, never acting. Life without Intellect is Ahrimanic evil– always acting, never reflecting, choosing or considering. The ancients made much of Cronus’s devouring of his children, which represents the Intellect refusing to allow generation and life, because Luciferic evil was by far the greater danger in their day– Steiner wrote, in fact, that Lucifer had been incarnate upon the Earth some 6,000 years ago (IIRC). The cyclopes, who Homer describes as living entirely without law or society, are children of Gaia rather than Rhea, but can be seen as representing the Ahrimanic principle– their single eye is fixed only on material things, and they are unable to rise above the merely bestial.

    Mediating between the two is Zeus, the child of both, the first of the Encosmic Gods and the Demiurge of the Cosmos. As the first in his series, he recapitulates the unity of Ouranos, the One (or a One from the One); he separates Intellect from the Cosmos (binds Cronus); allows the children of Cronus and Rhea to emerge and thus Creation to proceed; looks to Cronus (Intellect) as his Paradigm to create the Cosmos. Be like Zeus (or Michael).

  162. @JMG – thanks for the kitty-cat! Am thinking now of Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walked Through Walls. Not to mention Pratchett’s view that cats, knowing their fate in that infamous box, have learned to duck into all sorts of small safe places on Earth.

  163. @Robert Gibson #163 – I sidestep that issue in the simplest possible way – I close my eyes, stick a fork in the fruit cup, and say “Yes, that’s a strawberry, this is a blueberry, and that other is a chunk of melon that’s been in the dish a bit too long.”

  164. @info (#96): Well, Pseudo-Dionysius (or Denys, if you prefer) espoused a privation theory of evil, and his theology went on to strongly influence later theologians, Augustine among them. So, I mean…

    @Steve T. (#44): I unfortunately cannot partake in such a fast, as I work on the Internets, but there are times when I stray far from the screen, and those are precious wonders. I’d recommend them to anybody.

    And further to your point: “The medium is the message.”

  165. Hi JMG
    If I may…
    You asked, “So what’s Western Australia like?”
    Having been somewhat (unintentionally) remiss in answering the odd counter query you have posited me personally in the past, it would be my pleasure to reciprocate your ever abundant generosity, and attempt to enlighten you with an answer* from a local’s perspective….fair is fair, after all 😉
    (*a broad based answer… perhaps relevant, or not, to the question of Ahrimanic vs Luciferic characteristics that you and Simon S were discussing – please feel free to delete as OT, or edit for length as you see fit).
    The first word that comes to mind is ‘Vast’, closely followed by ‘Archaic’, rather than just ancient… ‘Indifferent’ and ‘Foreboding’ are up there as well. Having traveled the ‘circumference’ of this continent (and then some), mostly by motorcycle over many years, living in urban, rural and remote settings in every corner of the country, I’ve many a time in my travels marveled at how utterly insignificant the ‘outback’ here can make one feel, if one pauses long enough to notice.
    The western 2/3rds-ish of the continent is substantially different (on many levels) to the land containing the major eastern population centers, which mostly sit on the well watered and fertile Pacific coastal plain, east of the ‘Great Dividing Range’ – a much younger part of the continent overall, geologically speaking, as evidenced by the fact that the (once massive) mountain ranges that existed in the western part, have since worn down to no more than beautifully eroded stubs (the tourists love ‘em). In fact, go back a geological while, and the continent was two halves separated by a shallow sea – the western part already ancient, the other ringed with active volcanoes.
    The capital (and only) city of WA (Perth) is located on an estuary of one of the planets’ oldest river basins – and marks the northern boundary of a semi-fertile, limestone based, triangular region in the south west of the state, bounded by the Indian and Southern oceans to the west and south, and extending toward the south east for approx 600kms (to Albany), wherein are contained mountain remnants, enough rainfall and the subsequent accompanying small river systems and artesian basins, and where still grow some of the oldest and tallest eucalypts on earth (Karri). In fact, much of the flora in WA is among the oldest on earth and found nowhere else.
    This ‘Swan River Colony’ (with actual Black swans) was a last ditch effort by the English to get a foothold here, after all the previous attempts at settlement of the west (always by sea, never by land) pulled up stumps and called it a day – or starved to death. This is well after the Dutch had given the place up as a total loss – they didn’t even bother trying to settle here…too many shipwrecks while they were passing by on their way to the East Indies. It initially started out as an English ‘free’ settler colony, but the impending prospect of yet another dismal failure inspired them to bring the convicts in, for the cheap labour.
    The rest of the State is pretty much desert, much of it flat, with endless horizons of dry, red earth and deep blue sky – with the exception of the far north west, where a semi-monsoonal climate guarantees more substantial vegetation, and further spectacular and ongoing seasonal erosion of the ancient red landscape. I would also add that the north-western tropics are very different to the tropics in the east, let alone those in the Indonesian archipelago. I once heard of WA referred to as ‘far-east Africa’ (look up the Boab tree sometime).
    So this little city of a couple million souls, has only two road/rail systems leading out – one east across the border toward its closest sister city of Adelaide (pop 1.5 mil), with only a mere 2500 km of, well… pretty much nothing in between (no, that’s not a metaphor). The other (there are actually two – one inland for the mines and cattle stations, and one coastal for the ports and fishing… but they eventually meet up anyway), heading north for 2000 odd kms, services the desert towns that are essentially various forms of extraction industry ‘support centers’. After that? Well, you veer eastwards another 1000 km, through lots more nothingness, until you cross the border and eventually hit the remote port city of Darwin in the Northern Territory, over 3500 kms by coastal road from Perth, with a current pop under 100’000 (it’s grown a lot lately). Keep going east another 1500 km, through more desolate country that matches anything you saw in the central western deserts, and you finally pass through the eastern seaboard mountain range, down to a green landscape and an actual civilization (that’s certainly what it felt like at the time).
    So, why the long rant about WA/ Gondwana land and its’ geographical characteristics, as seen by an old-ish gypsy-nomad from (recently) rich, little isolated Perth?
    Well, for starters, I have long thought that it is the land that shapes nature of a people and their culture (thanks for the reinforcement JMG 🙂 and the way that this land has had our Faustian culture imposed upon it, feels both utterly alien and futile to me and will not age at all well, especially in the west, IMHO. I think most of our Aboriginals would agree with me.
    Unless you have lived in WA in the era before easy cheap access by air – say 40 years ago – it’s hard to truly appreciate the reality of travelling by land to WA from any other part of Australia, or vice versa. Fact of the matter is that very few bothered to.
    I see Australian society in general as having a major distinction between the Capital city dwellers, and those in the rest of the country. As I said, you don’t have to spend a lot of time out of the big (5) population centers, and the immensely barren and dominating presence of the landscape works to overwhelm you and most of your vanities, given enough time and space.
    The other significant factor I see in the varying sub-cultures to be found here, has to do with the ratio of descendants of Free Settlers vs Convicts (all Anglo-Celtic) vs European migrants (my mob, from the 50’s), vs Asian migrants (late 70’s on). It pays to keep in mind that a ‘White Australia’ was strict national policy up until then, and even southern Europeans weren’t considered to be white as yet.
    In regards to Simon’s comment on the nature of people in the West, I think he perhaps describes the vibe that comes from living in a perfected oligarchy, where Mammon is the agreed deity of choice (especially among the evangelicals), and materialism their daily bread. The ‘elites’ here know full well that they (with their 10 % of the national population) control over 30% of the national income (and territory, of course)… and as we all know, money/regulatory capture talks loudest in the political haggling stakes, just ask Kevin Rudd! (oops, did someone say “mining tax?”)
    The other thing I would mention, is that we have a profoundly ‘outdoor’ culture in WA, even more so than the national average. This is mostly represented by the mass acquisition and occasional use of all the latest outdoor transport, tech and comfort that money can buy – whilst clutching a ‘smart’ phone – but none the less, it seems to come from a genuine urge to get out into the endless landscape itself.
    So JMG, having never been to the US, I can’t say which American state we are most like – possibly none of them, as this is a pretty unique place, from what I can gather. We do share a similar system of Federal and State legislatures, and the States have a lot of clout and independence. If any state were going to secede, we are the most likely culprit for sure…although I’ve long entertained the idea that Xi might one day soon, make HRH Lizzie an offer she/ we can’t refuse – a la Hong Kong, but in reverse…if you get my drift.
    BTW @ Simon – if Melbourne is our San Fran and Sydney is our LA, then that would make Canberra the city of cosmic destiny half way between them…LMAO! Mind you…that is where Ozzies came together to help break the ‘Rona spell, so who knows?
    Cheers to all

    Tony_A, in WA

  166. My comment about the cloud dwellers was a rough metaphor, more about contrasting attitudes about different branches of physics than the physics itself. The cloud dwellers would be, for instance, beings currently dependent upon biochemical processes for significant aspects of their experience (that is to say, incarnated beings) disparaging the underlying quantum processes that make the biochemical processes possible.

    A different analogy would be walking through a forest admiring the trees for their lofty branches and beautiful leaves, but scorning the ants in the same forest because they touch the dirty soil. Which would be wildly out of character; you’d never say such a thing. So I find the association of the demonic with the physics of the small, dense, and numerous to be surprising and, so far, insufficiently justified.

    If evil Ahrimanic influences from the subnatural realm are what’s responsible for holding subatomic particles together into atoms, then all I can say is, thank you, subnatural realm, for those evil influences.

  167. As far as Christian conceptions of Heaven go, I think that the evidence we are given is really that Heaven is incomprehensible to humans. You can do a quick search in your favorite Bible search program for “the kingdom of God” or “the kingdom of Heaven and get analogies like a mustard seed that grows into a tree that all the birds of the air land in (ostriches not included?) Or yeast, or a pearl, or a fishing net. I rather like the description in John 14:2 “In my Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” These are all descriptions given by Christ, but that last one seems to me to say that Heaven is big and diverse.

    Then of course there’s the line about the gates of hell will not prevail, which implies to me that there will be combat of some sort, so if the pop-culture image of sitting on clouds playing harps is correct, those must be battle-harps. One does not get to a fight at the gates without going there, after all.

    But mostly, I’d wish to say that the ideas of Christianity in pop-culture are about as accurate as the ideas of the Norse pantheon in pop-culture, that is: not at all accurate. The Christian version has just had many more years of promotion, centuries, until people who should know better think it’s correct.

  168. @ Fra’ Lupo (#177)–

    Oh I understand, but I wonder if I might suggest a different way if thinking about it. Using the internet for work– even if you have to do it all day long– isn’t the same as compulsive or addictive screen use. In my view, it would still be valuable for you to give up something during your off-time. And it doesn’t need to be “the internet,” full stop– rather, some particular electronic Thing that plays a destructive or unhealthy role in your life. (If there isn’t one, you are ahead of the rest of us and should probably consider traditional meat/wine fasting instead!)

    For example– I didn’t refrain from TV use during Lent, because I don’t watch very much TV. And I also didn’t feel the need to specify video games or pornography, because those don’t play a role in my life. But I’m badly addicted to news and politics, and so I avoided any source of them– including TV news and the radio– as well as social media, blogs and podcasts. On the other hand, I used the internet daily to access audiobooks, and found it only enriched my life. Someone else might need to really focus on avoiding TV entirely, but might actually benefit from news as a way of learning about a world from which a TV addiction had cut them off. It’s more about having a healthy and intentional relationship to technology than simple seeing it as a Devil to be exorcised.

  169. Slithy, fascinating. None of this found its way into the physics-for-laypeople texts I’ve had to make do with.

    Reese, that’s always the issue with mystical experience — how do you interpret it? The previously unknown sun or a pocket of hallucinogenic gas? And then there’s the further question of how to integrate it with the sum total of subjective experiences, which is (as you’ve indicated) what science studies. Yes, your afterlife experience can be improved with the help of deities and other nonphysical beings. Thank you for the Atomic Rockets reference — I’ll have to spend some time there.

    Bradley, thanks for both these data points.

    Stephen, fun times indeed. At this point we’re up against the wall, and I think that’s starting to sink in.

    Dennis, fascinating. That does indeed make sense.

    Ray, hmm! Yes, a subnatural body is at least conceivable, and your broader analysis is worth mulling over.

    Simon, interesting. It was just a guess, largely based on the resource abundance and the attitude your described.

    Whispers, that seems like a very good start.

    Starfish, ha! “We’re number one,” indeed.

    Marsh, I’ve never used an app, so I’m far from sure I can offer any suggestions here.

    Apteryx, it happens, and at several stages. When you die, quite often there’s a reception committee of sorts waiting for you on the other side, consisting of people who knew you who are dead and haven’t yet been reborn — dead people, like living ones, like to meet friends and loved ones from whom they’ve been separated for a while. Later, when you’re on the astral plane, you have various chances to interact with others, especially if you and they are more or less on the same subplane of the astral.

    Bofur, interesting — and yes, it’s open invitation. Hope to see you there next year!

    Asdf, Culianu is dead on target as usual.

    Neptunesdolphins, pretty much everything I’ve seen about the two evils is by Steiner or his students — well, other than Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, where Steiner got the idea. As for what happens when people go full throttle into Luciferic evil, they surrender to the rage, chase away everyone everyone else, and die all alone with minds full of hatred.

    Steve, nice! A good solid mythic metaphor.

    Patricia M, you’re welcome. That would explain a thing or two about cats.

    Tony, thanks for this! It fascinates me that I got some sense of that from Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow out of Time,” some of which is set in the western Australian desert, which he never visited. Based on your description, it’s not quite the same as any US state, but the high plains of west Texas come close.

    Walt, I notice that you’re leaving out half the metaphor; I said, please note, that things get demonic, in terms of their effects on human beings, on both ends of the spectrum of scale. As for the value of the subnatural, of course it has its place; in the same way, the nuclear strong force is very, very important — but that didn’t keep it from causing some very awkward consequences when a bunch of it was released over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

    BoysMom, that’s a valid point.

  170. @Anonymous

    About the karmic implications of a regretful past;

    As somebody else wrote, at times the decision to better one’s self may trigger chaos. A contradiction at first glance, but probably help through a challenge and, depending on one’s karmic path, also suffering.

    A friend with a serious stake in the vedic tradition says there are those ways of shedding onerous karma of suffering, good deed and of course deep meditation and prayer.

    I can relate to you about some atrocious acts against others in a period of one’s life, often enough an early period. There if this isn’t an objective reality, it is at least inter subjective, a shared notion between both of us.

    Me for one always had a difficulty with arising anger, hatred and spite. Now however, I have practices and opportunities together so that I know, when I wake up in the morning loaded, or get loaded through the day, what I can do to alleviate these problems. When you are in a state of heavy and loaded feelings, you cannot imagine that something else is possible. When your rational mind however has learned that certain things may put it right, and the body has learned certain things bring it relaxation, then it is doable to step out of that hole
    again.
    Today, given it is a day off from work too, I woke up with a vile mind once again. I made a very long and steep walk, and sweated like out of buckets. Then, entering home again, I did lighter Yoga exercises with synced breathing, long in and out breath with a short pause in between. Then a cold shower.

    The significance of this is:

    Once upon time, unknowing, my anger just broke through and affected people. However I still wished to be a better person all the time. Guess what the result was!
    It is anger/attempt to free one’s self, suffering as a consequence, and learning to come to consciousness as a final point. I would say I have suffered a generous deal to know to do like I do now.
    Now I feel it would more often be: Being signified of some good duty in a clear headed, conscious moment, action, and benevolent consequence.

    I stood up today suffering, but knew to act quickly enough, AND knew to shield my bad feelings from leaking to the outside world much. Now I feel as reborn and as I write, tired as well of course.
    It would seem this is exchanging the necessity of suffering for another, more conscious way.

    It is far from easy to get on there; many have made that experience, trying to be good but be rewarded in unkindness so much that one loses oneself again, like from Ahrimanic to Luciferian.
    To balance these evils is a class in it’s self, especially when society fosters extremes in every way.

    Another stepping stone would be such ever present new age advice as to be “grateful” all the time.
    I have learned better than to thank god through clenched teetch; Now, when I have restored my good sense with the opportunity I was delivered, I do that. Because now it’s honest.

    To finish my advice, I will quote youthful Dax Riggs with his band acid bath in mid nineties:

    “Hunter of tears,
    yeah relative pain,
    the half of this world
    is dark with the stain
    The stain of unknowing!
    The dead flower buds, yeah
    On smiling lips is innocent blood..!”

    …the stain of unknowing….

  171. JMG: ” I’ve never used an app,” – indeed, nor have I.

    For me the association with demonic evil (in the looser, wider world sense, not the truly metaphysical) of Google with apps is, however, all too apparent (if you’ll forgive the semi-pun). I just wonder why everyone and their dog wants to push them so hard…

    On a second point if I may, you mention that iron has no repellent effect on demonic beings; that leaves me intrigued about the use of iron horseshoes, and all the stories of the devil and blacksmiths in folklore – or am I remembering it wrong?

    Walt F: I get it, and largely concur, but then I’m no expert on demonology.

  172. Hey hey JMG,

    When I was taking quantum mechanics, one of my professors told me that Schrödinger made up the eponymous cat thought experiment to point out just how absurd the wave function theory was. He meant it as a criticism of the theory, but it eventually became a standard explanation. The text book for the class had a live cat on the front cover and dead cat on the back cover.

  173. @ Tony_A

    There’s some weird geometric stuff going on in the Canberra city design. Maybe Burley Griffin really was trying to bring a cosmic balance to the east coast.

    I agree that the primary cultural difference in Australia is between city and country. Shame that there’s not enough country folk to balance out the increasingly delusional ideas of those that live in the cities.

    On a not unrelated subject, I just finished reading Patrick White’s “Voss”. A German (faust?) leaves mid 19th century Sydney, equal parts Ahrimanic and Luciferic with its money grubbing and Victorian era moral pretences, to attempt to travel all the way to the Swan River via the Darling Downs. It’s based on the true story of the explorer Leichhardt. In part, it’s White’s attempt to explain what Australia could be if it could rise above the Ahrimanic and the Luciferic.

  174. @Tony-A
    Beautiful description. Thanks. And Simon S I agree with the Sydney-Melbourne LA-SF comparison. I lived quite a few years in Oz, but only in Sydney and the Sunshine Coast hinterland. I have visited Perth and Margaret River, but only briefly.
    Not to belittle your effort Tony, but if anyone wants to get a feeling of WA: the land and its effect on the people, I would recommend Tim Winton, especially ” Dirt Music”. Everything I have read of his is great.
    Stephen

  175. John–

    Reflecting on your argument of the subnatural as demonic–or demonic in it’s effects on humans–re computing and the internet specifically, I noted how the web (and social media) often engenders jealousy and dissatisfaction with our lives as compared to others, rather than contentment and joy.

  176. Just to add to my Oz comment: I don’t feel anything in North America, or anywhere else I have been has a comparable feeling to Australia west of The Great Dividing Range. For better or worse there is nothing else like it. It almost feels like another world, where non aboriginal people exist on a sufferance from some other power. I haven’t been to the Sahara or the Kalahari, so maybe there. Sometimes in the Australian desert I have had a feeling almost akin to claustrophobia, that there is nothing else and I will never get out of it.
    From the Sunshine Coast on down one can make a pretty good comparison to Cali flipped over. The SA wine country feels quite a lot like the CA wine country; maybe wine countries everywhere do.

  177. Dear JMG,

    Thank you.

    I disagree with this comment of yours, though:
    “Heidegger is engaged in handwaving. Do subjective experiences exist, as subjective experiences? Sure, and in that sense, they’re real. Does that give them the same kind of reality as the things of which they’re subjective reflections? No. Look into a mirror; the reflection of you in that mirror unquestionably exists, but that doesn’t prove that there’s another you on the other side of the glass. It’s simply a property of your body that it can be reflected in mirrors”

    Heidegger, as I understand him, is opposed to the idea of subjective-objective as a binary of its own. He recognizes this binary as a human idea – construction; there is no deep reasoning or truth behind this idea: just an arbitrary and binary division of a naïve perception of the world. (That is coming from the onticity as opposed to ontology; onticity works with space and time (in the Newtonian sense), with objects and subjects whereas ontology takes BEING into account and space and time are of different origin and properties: they flow from the Beginning as self-developing-differenciating/changes.)

    With deep regards,
    Markéta

  178. JMG
    Thank you so much for this post.and your answers to Kimberly, anonymous, etc It has been a huge help to me in seeing many aspects of my life more clearly. As I approach the end of my life (I am 82),I have been going back in my mind apologizing to anyone I can think of whom I have wronged and trying to forgive anyone who has wronged me. This has been going on for the last year or so. I have no idea if this makes any difference to them or me on a deeper level, but I would like to quit on as clean a slate as possible.
    I think most of the harm I have done was to women I was involved with, and mostly when I was much younger. On balance I also probably got back as bad or worse than I gave. Is there pay as you go karma? I am also aware of my Luciferian judgmental tendencies and have to keep them in check. I guess I have been lucky in always having people around who were much worse about it and served as dark mirrors for me.

  179. The mythic images involved might shed some light on Steiner’s thoughts too. Ahriman was the “malevolent spirit” of ancient Persian religion, and his influence is certainly visible in the malice and erotomania so prevalent in our society now. Lucifer I believe was associated in demonolatry with the element of air, and he seems to be the soul of all impossible endeavor and doomed effort, the perfect being the enemy of the good. The association of these two forces with a soul out of balance also makes me think of the lunar nodes, being described in ancient times as “the head and tail of the serpent”, a mythic figure who had been hacked in two. The symbolism seems connected somehow, especially since the lunar nodes are said to be karmic.

    I note that the Ahrimanic spirit became strongly dominant with the Plutonian era. The Luciferian spirit seems to be associated with the worst “pie in the sky” manifestations of the Neptunian spirit. Perhaps with Pluto’s decline to a “tertiary” status in the cosmos and what that entails for human consciousness, balance will return?

    Well, as a software engineer I have a certain sympathy for Steiner’s viewpoint. The blessings of the WWW have been mixed indeed. Truthfully I’m at a point of exhaustion with the darker aspects of it. For me it is now, primarily, a tool of education. This site and others like it, and places like the Internet Archive or similar collections of scholarly or historical material, are representative of the good side of the Web, what it was originally intended for — at least, in the high ideals of men like Tim Berners-Lee. Those are the kinds of online communities I expect to be of enduring interest and value.

    PS I am one of those who avoided Steiner because of dogmatism in his intellectual descendants but now I’m going to have to put his works on the reading list alongside the other great visionaries of that bygone age.

  180. Having just said I was trying to be less judgmental, I can’t avoid a Steiner/Waldorf story. I worked at a school that shared a campus with a Waldorf school. We had to go by their entrance to get to our parking and drop off area. One of their staff used to direct traffic stopping everyone so their kids could unload, which was fine except that he would then chat with the parents after they had dropped their kids off,with the most self righteous expression on his face, creating a huge line of cars. It got so we had a built in 15 or 20 minute excuse for us or our kids being late. His self righteousness was just the most visible face of the attitudes of all rheir staff and parent body. I’m afraid we referred to them all as Waldorks

  181. Hi JMG,

    Your description of the attractiveness of Luciferic evil resonates a lot with some classic literature. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, the devil is a charismatic figure who tempts humanity into falling in love with their own creations. Jordan Peterson makes a lot of this, as did one of my literature professors.

    When I read Dante’s Inferno, it was interesting that the devil was such a bland, brutish figure. He just sits there mechanically chewing on damned souls one after the other. You could make the argument that Dante’s devil is Ahrimanic evil, a mindless sensuousness. Very different from the seductive persuasiveness of Milton’s devil, which is Luciferic!

  182. @JMG, Pygmycory

    The social media/virtue signalling vs. internet porn thing seems to be simply a split between how (mostly) women and effeminate men go off the rails on the internet, vs. how (mostly) men go off the rails on the internet.

    I don’t know how that fits in with the ahrimanic theory of electronics. But surely the other compulsive thing that zillions of people use the internet for fits that pattern: dumb games that rely on periodic dopamine hits to keep people playing long after they’ve lost interest.

  183. Marsh, in folk tradition there are many classes of nonphysical or paraphysical beings who can mess with humanity. Iron repels the kind that western European lore calls faeries.

    Team10tim, hmm! It makes more sense that way.

    David BTL, I’ve noticed the same thing, so that may be relevant.

    Stephen, fascinating. So noted.

    Markéta, so noted, but to me this is more handwaving. To return to the mirror metaphor, a body can produce a reflection, but a reflection can’t produce a body; there’s a real difference there, not simply a prejudice.

    Stephen, that’s an extremely useful thing to do. You’re basically getting some of your after-death work done in advance, and that leads to a better postmortem experience and better conditions for your next incarnation.

    Deneb, that seems very reasonable to me. As for Steiner, I know the feeling; it took me decades to get past the bad experiences with the Anthroposophagi I met and decide to give Steiner himself another look.

    Stephen, yeah, that sounds about right. “Waldorks” is a keeper.

    Samurai, hmm! That makes a great deal of sense.

    Methylethyl, two good points. Thank you.

    Patricia O, many thanks!

  184. I’m sorry, I should have been more thorough lest anyone think that the math is wrong. The Schrödinger equation produces results that agree with the empirical evidence. In that sense the theory is fine.

    The interpretation that “observing causes the wave fuction to collapse from a superposition of states into one definite state” and the implication that the quatum world is in a superposition of states when we aren’t looking is what he was making fun of with the cat that is both dead and alive until you open the box.

    As Slithy Toves pointed out we can’t really say anything about what the quatum world is doing when we aren’t looking.

    If one does the same thought experiment with a spinning top that either falls to left and breaks the vial when it stops spinning or to the right and becomes a plaything for the cat then the outcomes are the same. Schrödinger was pointing out that the math that we use for quantum mechanics shouldn’t affect the cat.

    Fun story, John von Nuemann had a student who could do the math, but complained that he didn’t understand it “young man, no one understands math, we just get used to it.”

    There are actually a fair number of these faulty understandings that don’t get corrected until upper level degrees. For example mass does not increase at relativistic speeds and it certainly doesn’t become infite at light speed (just imagine the gravitational consequences). It takes more work to accelerate particles at these speeds because of time dilation. In my reference frame I push on a particle for 10 seconds, but in the particle’s reference frame it only feels a 1 second push. So from my perspective f=ma looks like the mass has increased because I have to push 10 times harder to get the acceleration that I was expecting.

  185. “It isn’t that fantastical realities exist in the mind, but that the real world is fantastical and multidimensional.”

    That last post kinda focused on the petty evil, and I suppose after writing on it I should balance it with some thoughts on the inflated evils on the other side. But first let me revisit my budding understanding of the subnatural, so that any errors in my thinking may be made most apparent to those with education or mindfulness to see the,.

    The idea of planes relating with scale and density is really stimulating. To revisit the sub-natural, quantum effects are evidentially distinct from general materialistic effects in those contexts where some aspect of existence become sufficiently isolated casually from its environment, this is simplified and explained as the observer effect. Generally only very tiny systems are likely to be predominantly in this effect, as any thing that is large andd deeply interconnected is simply too dang hard to causally isolate from its environment, some force is going to interact with it and collapse its wave into matter. Similarly it is when we connect to others as others with their own subjectivity that Ahrimanic influences are able to dissipate: maybe someone else wants to keep this thing; maybe she isn’t interested in me; maybe this would hurt them?

    With materialism we are dealing with rather straight forward, so to speak ‘Newtonian’ connections, in any case something more or less causal and to our culture quantifiable. As the material body is able to sense things in ways that we are very skillful at describing precisely, maybe we are biased to thing of the kinds of causes native to the material plane as paradigmatic of cause itself. But in interacting with others, and even in many domains of life we are confronted with happenings that take tremendous effort to enplane materially; granting that it seems as though living material bodies are still very limited in their ability to gainsay the material nets of causality, within those limits they do things that are quite shocking reasoning from purely material causes.

    I think of ecology as a science like you reference in the post. Right as it really got rolling it head butted into cultural assumptions and got dropped like an unwanted responsibility. One of the reasons for this is that the sort of complex feedback loops which we most artfully articulated by Gregory Bateson start to have a diffuse being that I think verges on an etheric nature. Consider the material and the etheric bodies of a river. Sand and water is the material body, we can point to in, weigh it, damm it, and so on. But it isn’t hard to see that the water that happens to be in the river isn’t the river. When it flows out, its still the same river. Some materialists might try to say that rivers are just a human abstraction, but this is weak sauce because the whole system of the river has perfectly obvious properties that aren’t confusable with the stuff in it. The river, as a system, takes up a huge amount of space, it is surely concentrated in the banks, but an entire watershed is an organ of the river. The cloud catching mountains are of the river, and the clouds, and the atmospheric currents that vary seasonally to make the river swell every June. So there for the enertia of the Earth is of the river, and the rays of the sun evaporating water molecules in a distant sea, even the cold darkness of the space between the stars receive the infrared photons that by departing the Earth allow the water to cool and condence in the cloud, and fall down the mountain into the water shed that feeds the river. And that’s only the receptive side of the river; y’all can figure out the estuary on out yourselves. That’s all still mostly me talking in the material plane, but I think that sense of true vastness that the system of the river has, compared to a few hundred miles of banks and water shows appropriate diffuseness and vastness of the etheric extent. Think of the difference between the true etheric body of a river and what I just said much as though I just told you about the wave lengths of light reflected by each of several critical pigments in Van Gogh’s Starry night to try to explain the basic look of it.

    Beyond that is vaster still, the great quote asdf added to the thread, sampled at the beginning of this post. The astral plane absolutely overwhelms the scale of the material plane. All that can be imagined by humanity is but a single photon absorbed in an atom of a drop of water in a universe of oceans; yet even the human’s astral body can glimpse distant worlds. Ever the parts of maths that we can work with by virtue of their dipping down into the astral realm contain finite numbers so vast that to contemplate them more nearly impresses the meaning of infinite on our mind than limitlessness itself.

    Yet as I near this scale in contemplation, I must contend with the Lucifarian influence. To know an idea, an ideal, from a plane above the material, to even glimpse some of the glories of the astral, can be so vast, andd yet diffuse that one can loose ones head, sense of proportion, and grounding. It is easy to crave to abdicate our mortal duties because this or that astral thing is so great and impressive. What is real and natural to human’s becomes in danger of itself seeming as petty as the Ahrimanic static of the universe, and what matters it? Sometimes that becomes violent, in my case it is often a temptation to sloth.

    To illustrate the vastness again I will share with you a vice of mine. There have been times when I have been caught by an obsession to study functions that render mind flayingly large numbers which are still finite. Inportant tasks and duties in my life have been neglected that I might better contemplate these things. But they are not evil in themselves, indeed useful philosophizing has come from these contemplation, and not just to me, but they are dangerous as it is an abyss that a material bound mind cannot fathom.

    In brief: Consider a series of functions ‘F0, F1, F2…) they each act upon a number as an input to create an output of a larger number. F0(N) simply adds 1 to n. F1 of N is nothing but F0 nested N times; and so on up the intergers. In effect F1ofN doubles N. F2N doubles N, n times. By F3 this get beyond our normal sense for maths, F3of3 generates an output too large to print in a Bible, but which could be typed in small font in a good encyclopedia. F3of4 generates an output too large to be represented in base ten with all the matter in the universe. There is a consequence of this, if I name two of these large intergers, say F5of5 and F5of6, the gap between them is so large that the vast majority of the numbers between them are impossible to refer to individually using any possible system of abstraction that could be modeled in a computer of perfect efficiency with access to the total computing power of all the entropy in the universe. Indeed the vast majority which can be named exist in nameable island seperted by oceans of consecutive ineffable numbers vasted than the total limit of numbers such a computer could name.

    I best stop there, before we get into the recursion methods for taking those outputs and making them subscripts of F, where the real big numbers hang out. I have derived much joy and some appreciate of the scale of higher planes from exploring the F series, which is but in thread in a tapastry of higher objects, and yet it fills me with dread, because such vastness is so far beyond what I am ready to actively participate that I thing such maths has a Lucifarian influence.

    Indeed, it is a series I studied online, and like the majority of vices I think that I am subject to from the digital world, it is lucifarian. The bodiless mind.

  186. For what its worth, there is some discussion that Quantum Computers require and utilize access to parallel dimensions to function. Here’s a link;

    https://sociable.co/technology/quantum-computing-multiverse/

    Makes you wonder what the inhabitants of those parallel universes think of the intrusion of parts of quantum computers from our universe into their turf?

    Steiner really did hit the nail on the head with the Web and spiders– What does he say, if anything, about what comes after the web?

  187. JMG, your comments re karma and the fate of souls between lives reminds me of Scrooge in The Christmas Carol. His experiences with the three ghosts which bring him realisation, shame, guilt and regret seem to tally with your thoughts of how the afterlife works. But Scrooge is given a second chance to work through that karma while he is still in this life. I think what is interesting is that in working through that karma, while it starts out painfully, he ends his life more fulfilled and happy than he has ever been.
    I am currently working through The Octagon Society papers and I am seeing the parallels here. The painful work through past regrets, shame and guilt brings an immense release, as well as a realisation of the possibilities of changing some of those old patterns and the ability to live in a whole new paradigm.

  188. @Fra’ Lupo

    “Well, Pseudo-Dionysius (or Denys, if you prefer) espoused a privation theory of evil, and his theology went on to strongly influence later theologians, Augustine among them. So, I mean”

    Oh I agree. He was definitely expounding on the Scriptures that he had on hand and Greek Philosophy.

    But I think The Philosophy that that is inherent in the Biblical narrative and Prophecies really militates against the severing of Spirit and Matter that Greek Philosophy ended up going outside of the Christian Philosophers.

    “Behind much of the thought in the Bible lies a “peculiarly Semitic” idea of a “unitive notion of human personality.” [Dahl, Resurrection of the Body, 59] This notion combined aspects of the human person that we, in modern times, often speak of as separate entities: Nausea is thought of as a condition of the soul and not the stomach (Num. 21:5); companionship is said to be refreshing to the bowels (Philemon 7); and the fear of God is health to the navel (Prov. 3:8).

    This line of thinking can be traced through the Old Testament and into the New Testament (in particular, the concept of the “body of Christ”) and rabbinic literature.

    Applied to the individual, the Semitic Totality Concept means that “a man’s thoughts form one totality, with their results in action, so that ‘thoughts’ that result in no action are ‘vain’.” [ibid, 60] To put it another way, man does not have a body; man is a body, and what we regard as constituent elements of spirit and body were looked upon by the Hebrews as a fundamental unity. Man was not made from dust, but is dust that has, “by the in-breathing of God, acquired the characteristics of self-conscious being.”

    Thus, Paul regards being an un-bodied spirit as a form of nakedness (2 Cor. 5). Man is not whole without a body. A man is a totality which embraces “all that a man is and ever shall be.”

    https://www.tektonics.org/af/baptismneed.php

    Hence the importance of the Physical Resurrection of the Body in the Christian religion. Because Spirit must be united with the Physical. Which is inherent in the Theology of Theosis(2 Peter 1:4). God and Humanity being “married”.

    And the flawed nature of reality is “fixed up” so to speak in a remaking of the entire universe(Romans 8:18-21).

    And the Theophany makes his home in the material universe. Thereby Heaven and Earth becomes One.

    Evil will be resolved by both the redemption of human beings. And removal of those who would ruin the future creation. And the recreation of everything.

    The “natural evils” so to speak that results in visible problems with us genetically and so on. As well as nature being “Red in Tooth and Claw” will be resolved.

  189. I enjoyed reading “Getting beyond narratives” following your suggestion. It did provide some further understanding on the topic of the “ternary”, specifically in this paragraph: “The traditional rule here is that numbers always change in a specific order: one becomes two, two becomes three, and three becomes one and shifts to another level. (The reasons for this rule, again, are too complex to go into here.) Thus if you’ve got a situation that presents itself as a binary, and you want to change it, you can’t effectively turn it back into a unary — it’ll just pop back into being a binary again — but you can turn the binary into a ternary by redefining the situation in terms of three independent factors, rather than two. This is called neutralizing a binary, and it’s a very common bit of magical strategy.” I wonder if the West’s confused efforts to keep China neutral in its conflict with Russia is a failing attempt at creating a ternary.

    However … the whole letter is a work of intellectual art, and I suspect a spell in its own right. The three spells (reification, corporate triumphalism, and rescue) with which you convey your critique of the book in question (and of the activist movement of the time), with each connecting back to the metaphor of the Dudley/Nell/Snidely dysfunctional ternary, are priceless. It brought to mind the Karpman drama triangle that uses Rescuer/Victim/Persecutor as the characters.

    What I found surprising is that you don’t point out the false assumption of nature’s passivity in the conflict between activism and corporate greed. Nell (nature) is unlikely to submit to being tied to the railway tracks. But as you point out that is precisely the conviction that you are seeking to shift: who really holds power? Power is not held by human systems at all, and that false conviction is emerging for all to see in today’s events, even in the buffoonish efforts of world leaders desperately trying to maintain appearances of having **** under control.

    Thanks for another great read.

  190. Dear JMG,

    thank you for your reply – it is a beautiful and helpful metaphor; hopefully worth repeating to those who did not get it the first time-well, me:-).

    With deep regards,
    Markéta

  191. Really interesting article, as always. As someone who strives to be an authentic traditional Christian I always appreciate your use of Christian authors (like Lewis), which is not all that common among self-identifying pagans. I’m also always quite pleasantly surprised that I find more sense in what you write than other self-proclaimed “traditional Christians” who almost always end up mistaking a sort of fundamentalism for the entirety of the integral catholic and orthodox tradition.

    Anyways, I think the Ahrimanic and Luciferic tendencies have been captured in the Christian tradition as the twin heresies of materialism and gnosticism — Man as solely creature and man as solely spirit. But I’m not sure I agree that the lucefiric tendency is disappearing, rather I think it’s changing. The transgender phenomenon, obsession with AI and more specifically living in the metaverse, and all recent fads of self-identity are grounded in the idea that our natural selves (bodes, minds, social relations, whatever) are purely arbitrary, and that what really matters is our will, which is a spiritual faculty. This is very gnostic, and if the gnostic can be equated with luciferic, then the luciferic element is alive and well inn our society. But perhaps there are differences that I’m glossing over.

    Thanks for the content!

  192. I will admit I was not looking forward to this post, and if I had tallied the votes, I would have voted for the next contender. My reasons were similar (though less well elaborated) to those stated by Walter, Ray and others. Basically, I consider the electron orbitals and the mathematics used to derive them beautiful in the same way the Platonic solids are beautiful, and I find the (rather few) examples of quantum tunnelling I have encountered in enzymology fascinating proof of our bodies’ ingenuousness.

    However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the walk through philosophy, and Steiner’s vision of giant spiders, between mineral and plant, is spot on. The effects of too much internet exposure on human psychology are quite somber, whatever explanation one favours – Ray’s efforts at #161 imagining Lego computers seem the most convincing to me.

    One question on philosophy: in earlier posts you painted the turn of Greek philosophers after Socrates away from trying to explain the world as a positive and inevitable step. You said that they realized it is impossible to understand the world as it is and therefore turned first to epistemology and then to the more fruitful pursuit of understanding human behaviour. In this post, you make it sound as if they gave up on trying to understand the nature of reality.

    The relevance to our situation today is: is it worthwhile to continue trying to understand whatever we can about the nature of our (shared) world (insofar as we can understand it through observations and experiments) or is it nobler to turn away from that and concentrate on concrete examples of how humans can better live together?

  193. “I agree that the primary cultural difference in Australia is between city and country. Shame that there’s not enough country folk to balance out the increasingly delusional ideas of those that live in the cities.”

    Same problem in the US, and even more locally the Seattle metropolitan area and Eastern Washington.

    I wonder how far back that goes. Jane Austen generally had the countryside better behaved than the cities, and Shakespeare set As You Like It in the country where people could escape the corruption of court.

  194. Team10tim, I find it useful, in making sense of things like the Schrödinger equation, to remember the little rhyme about the bunny and the hole that parents use to teach children how to tie their shoes. There isn’t actually a bunny, and it doesn’t actually jump into a hole, but if you follow the method you get your shoes tied. Mathematics is our modern equivalent of stories about bunnies, and it also works.

    Ray, good heavens. A fine meditation on this post’s theme!

    Emmanuel, oog. Not a smart idea. As for what comes after the spiders, I’ll have to do some digging in Steiner’s writings, as I don’t think I’ve seen that discussed.

    Blueday Jo, “A Christmas Carol” is a great metaphor for the after-death state, but also for the kind of useful preparation we can make while still in incarnation — reviewing the past, revisioning the present, and remembering the frightening lesson the third ghost has to pass on about the future. I’m glad you’re finding the Octagon Society material useful!

    Brazzart, good. I didn’t discuss nature as an active feature because when I wrote that — quite a few years ago now! — the importance of that blind spot in contemporary thought hadn’t really hit me yet. My ideas have been evolving over time, of course.

    Reese, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Bonaventure, you should spend more time around Druids. We’re not really part of the current Neopagan scene — we’ve been around longer (the Druid Revival got started in the mid-18th century) and we tend to have a much more open attitude toward Christianity, and especially toward Christian writers such as Lewis, who was one of the last of the red-hot Christian Platonists; the Platonic tradition had a very strong influence on the Druid Revival. With regard to your point about Luciferic influence in today’s culture, that’s valid, of course; I’d also point to the Transhumanist business as a classic Luciferic phenomenon. What I think Steiner had in mind was that the Ahrimanic current is more powerful in our present age than the Luciferic, so that even Luciferic phenomena end up subserving an Ahrimanic agenda — thus, as one example out of many, the way that so many of these fixations on artificial identity make a beeline for sex.

    Aldarion, I’m glad to have surprised you! With regard to your question, I don’t think the turn away from trying to understand the universe was good or bad — it was simply inevitable. What each thinker chooses to do in response to it — to resist the turn or to move with it — is an intensely personal choice, and what is right for one may be wrong for another.

  195. John–

    From what do you think the observed tendency of Anthroposophists toward the kind of rigid dogmatism you and others here have described derives? Of what I’ve read of Steiner’s work (admittedly only a fraction of his writings), I didn’t get a sense that he embodied that kind of thinking.

  196. True, I focused on that half of the metaphor. For me that half seems much more imminent. If you tell me there are two equally dangerous unexploded bombs, one somewhere in the vastness of space and the other in my living room, for sure I’m going to pay a lot more attention to that second one!

    There appear to be three different hypotheses for where demonic influences from the use of computers can arise. These are not mutually exclusive, and may even operate synergistically, but that’s not certain either so it’s worthwhile to consider them separately. The first is that computer microcircuitry operates close to the quantum (subnatural) realm. The second is that (conventional digital) computers operate in binary. The third is that they’re built and operated by humans for various exploitative purposes. The third is a potentially vast topic, so I’ll only address a few considerations for the first two.

    The quantum nature of transistors arises from how they rely upon electrons moving between specific (quantized) energy states. This is indeed a quantum phenomenon, very similar to how elements get their distinctive emission spectra (as used in fluorescent lamps) due to their electrons being constrained to move between specific quantized orbitals. Some kinds of transistors also use the quantum phenomenon of tunneling (to operate at lower energy).

    The operation of transistors in microcircuitry is deterministic, though. There’s none of the kind of “quantum weirdness” where a transistor or gate is in different superimposed states simultaneously. If that did happen, the transistor wouldn’t be working correctly and the digital circuitry it’s part of would fail. But it can’t actually happen, because microchips operate at much too high temperatures for that. (There are cryogenic devices designed for quantum computation, which is an area of research. But despite some hype to the contrary, those may not ever be particularly useful for practical computation and in any case are not used to run any part of the Internet.) That’s part of what I meant earlier when I said a microcircuit logic gate does the same thing with the same results as for instance an electromechanical one.

    Describing something as quantum tends to evoke notions of ghostly indeterminacy (more so, the more educated the audience) but there’s no such indeterminacy in the operation of normal digital microchips. If some willful entity wished to exert influence by manipulating the outcome of computations, it can’t take advantage of quantum superpositions or uncertainty. It would have to force small but decidedly macroscopic changes, ones to zeros or vice versa, charged pieces of metal becoming discharged or vice versa, and do so without crashing the process. (Similar to the effects of cosmic rays, which very occasionally do cause errors and/or crashes when they flip a bit.) Figuring out which bits to flip, to achieve a given social purpose, seems a formidable task as well.

    Getting long-winded, so I’ll address the binary issue later.

  197. Fascinating discussion! I wish I had more time to participate. I’m savoring each person’s contribution to this.
    A few observations. First, it was getting close to two years ago that I began hearing from people with spiritual inclinations that AI was a particular danger to mankind, as it would represent a different entity from a different dimension or universe that was intent on breaking in and taking over the Earth, doing away with anything that stood in its way. I heard this mostly from Europeans, but one Shinto priestess I know from a long line with great sensitivity, who specializes in gardening, agreed that this danger exists. In recent years, I’ve heard some notable technophiles say that AI poses a danger like no other we’ve ever seen. Like our host, I tend to dismiss AI as a sort of teenage nerd fantasy, but from what I know of the technosphere, I intend to stay away from it as much as I can.
    Second, related to that, there exists a notable minority everywhere you go who are sensitive to the artificial radiation electronics produces on its own, whether with or without radiowave transmission. Arthur Firstenberg, in The Invisible Rainbow, notes that throughout the history of mankind’s use of electricity, there have been people who were made sick by it. Each time this emerged, though, it was quickly suppressed because the majority (or something) strongly felt that mankind must press ahead with technology. Recently, the electrosensitive have been dismissed with the pejorative “technophobe” label. Particularly painful for them is that many of these people were early adopters. They (and I) loved technology, but got burnt (in a near literal sense) by it. No one wants to hear their warnings. Now I watch young people, including athletes, develop hunchbacks from bending over their phones, and other people develop strabismus, including people who appear regularly on TV and it is so normal now that no one comments about either of these disfigurements. Instead, the race is on for transhumanism, where we can cast aside these frail bodies.
    As an aside, about a year ago, the TV announced that Japan was going to get rid of about half of its public phones, as no one needed them anymore. Subsequent to that, however, I noticed a near doubling of public phones. Convenience stores that used to have them, and got rid of them, started installing them again, and new booths appeared along roadways. Yesterday KDDI had a service outage affecting 4G, Wi-Fi and several other services, with people finding themselves “out of range,” and this morning it was still out, with no reason given. The TV suggested people use the public phones.
    What strikes me as notable here is that the forces promoting transhumanism are ubiquitously visible, while those opposing it have been forced into the shadows. From my conversations with people on this site, I estimate that we have a typical cross-section of sensitivities in society, but here people feel freer to furtively admit to it. I know one person who lost his job by being ratted out as a “technophobe” (Paul Doyon) for his activities on-line. I do take that risk here, but my clients all know about my electrosensitivity already.
    Third, (being called to breakfast–third will have to wait)

  198. With JMG’s leave, I’d like to reply re: Johnny’s slightly off-topic post and to viduraawakened and whoever else was interested in low-tech refrigeration in the last open post. The wandering shepherd Aaron Fletcher has been using a homemade felt-covered evaporative cooler to maintain a consistently low temp in an enclosed box-shaped space in which he stores food and sheep-ovulation test-kits. A recent video is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb3BDpBWN9o. He notes that he’s expecting better results with periodic cleaning of the felt – and of course relative humidity is a factor.

  199. David BTL, that’s the really appalling thing. Steiner very often cautioned people against dogmatism and urged them to check his teachings against their own experiences. After his death, unfortunately, there were the usual disastrous quarrels, and the more esoterically inclined members of his organization were driven out by the dogmatists. I suppose it goes to show that the Luciferic current — because that’s what ideological dogmatism amounts to, of course — really is present in all of us.

    Walt, if you want to take a set of philosophic metaphors and run it into the ground in a flurry of irrelevant detail, by all means, but I did address that in my post, you know — Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis, and all that. Maybe you could do an engineering analysis of the rainbow bridge Bifrost in Norse mythology when you’re finished.

    Patricia O, thanks for this. I think there’s unquestionably something trying to earth out in the whole AI business, but my guess is that it won’t be able to do so for a variety of reasons, not least because the forces that are trying to earth out that “something” aren’t unopposed. But we’ll see.

    Temporaryreality, thanks for this.

  200. @ JMG
    Happy that you found my description resonated for you on some level. Funny, I’ve read a fair bit of Sci-Fi, but never any Lovecraft…might have to remedy that and go hunt down a copy of “The Shadow out of Time”, and see if it speaks to me 
    BTW, a most interesting essay overall, especially re the Steiner/ Spiders thing…wow, trippy much. I thought the ‘blood demons’ concept was out there on the edge, but now this, wow…
    As it is, I too have come across the direct results of BD agriculture and Waldorf education… and TSW! – the man’s ideas certainly deserve much credit and respect. I’ve always thought he and uncle Gustav (Jung) make a fine pair of early 20th century mystics, that speak loudly to this day.
    ….You, of course, hold the title for most honourable early 21st century mystic.
    @ Simon S
    Yup, the first thing you notice about Ozzie country folk, is that they are much less neurotic overall…seriously weird, eccentric and at times verging on frightening or deranged?… sure, but always with a slow calm, and deliberate implacability.
    As for cosmic balance, re Canberra and Burley G?…me, I just can’t get the image of sheep grazing the grassy slopes of Parliament House, out of my head…
    @ Stephen P
    As our dear host would say – You’re welcome, and thank you! I had fun reminiscing while I was visualizing my past meanderings. It certainly might seem like a sufficiently misspent youth from the outside, but I’m not so sure these days 
    The Sunshine Coast and hinterland is one of the most beautiful (as in hospitable) landscapes in Oz, Gods’ country indeed. Thanks also for your confirmation on the uniquely primeval nature of this part of Australia, you’ve obviously seen more of the world than I, and it’s nice to know my instincts are generally correct…“where non aboriginal people exist on a sufferance from some other power” sums it all up pretty neatly.
    Cheers all

  201. OK, a waldorf teacher told me this. Q- How many waldorf teachers does it take to change a light bulb?. A- I don’t know. Steiner didn’t say.

  202. @JMG

    I suspect the entire Transhumanism business is basically trying to artificially replicate the Resurrection Bodies promised in Christianity.

    The merging with Machines or with a God-like AI is like a counterfeit version of Christian Theosis. The secularized version of Christian Transcendence.

  203. The LDS Mystic Bruce Charleston \is well versed in Steiner’s work . I think Charleston’s tripartite definition of evil derived from the work is one of the most useful I’ve seen.

    https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2020/12/since-millenium-we-have-entered-era-of.html

    He redefines Steiner as

    Luciferian, (1)

    evil of short-termist personal lust, pleasure and torment.

    Ahrimanic -(2)

    evil in its cold, rational, systematic manifestation , think the kind of lust for domination we saw al through 2020 and 2021

    Sorathic (3)

    The intent is that everyone, without exception, should die in fear and despair. Spite from hell basically

    I like to think I am far from naive but when I considered the later and how certain people in power are behaving , well I admit to being a bit gobsmacked.

    Also off topic a bit, JMG I just bought your book The Druid Path at my local B&N to go along with a bunch of other less than scholarly pop occult books on the topic. I am looking forward to giving it a thorough reading.

    Amusingly the first book of your I bought, Inside a Magical Lodge used alas for your wallet was intended for use with a tabletop roleplaying game not magic.

    GURPS , a more verisimilitude driven universal system had a game book with an exceptionally well researched magic system and a rather good setting about a shadow war between voodoo practitioners and magic lodges . I figured the book could be used to add flavor for that that or later for the Wtchcraft RPG’s Rosicrucian order supplement

  204. As a programmer, my intuition is that most of the evil we see bubbling up from the electronic world is the product of the psyches of the people who paid to construct it. In an earlier time, there was a much different energy around computer technology, a sense of freedom and boundless possibility. When mainframes that filled entire rooms represented the forefront of computing, there was a palpable reverence around the computer, an awe of the effort that had made electronic computing technology possible and the magnitude of the opportunity afforded to those working with it. I contrast that to today’s ecosystem of pay-to-win mobile phone games, where the computers are vastly smaller in size and are used in the most vulgar fashion imaginable, the efforts of programmers turned toward exploiting the basest forms of addictive and compulsive behavior in their users.

    I experience the computer as a window onto another world. That world has a nature, or a sub-nature, just like the physical world. Most of the greatest achievements in computer technology were brought about by people who had some understanding and appreciation of the natural laws of this other world. The technology industry, as it is, is controlled by people who have no more regard for the harmony and balance of the electronic world than for the physical world we live in. They see the computer as the access point to a trove of goodies waiting to be strip-mined.

    The electronic world is a place where intent is multiplied and compounded. In science fiction there is the concept of “hyperspace,” a higher dimension wherein by traversing a small distance you can move a vast distance in normal space. The electronic world can be seen as a hyper-karmic space where a small amount of work can have a proportionally huge effect. Naturally, this works in both positive and negative directions. The major social media platforms and online communities were largely created under the influence of a will to corral, control and manipulate their users. This is what has given rise to the misery of doomscrolling and the terror of cancel mobs.

    In electronic space, perverse incentives have led to hyper-perverse outcomes. It’s hard to explain to an outsider just how twisted some of the technology business models are. For instance, many large software vendors but particularly Microsoft derive profit not by empowering the users of their tools, but by impeding their productivity and making money by helping them to get unstuck. Many consultants have chosen to push Microsoft products because there’s a mentality that “no one gets fired for buying Microsoft” and when the software takes days to install and breaks every week, it generates many more billable hours. There are alternative technologies that can install in minutes with a much lower rate of bugs, but then where would the consultants be? The concept is the same as a dam – block a natural flow and in doing profit.

    Despite all of this, what has kept me working with computers is the sense I’ve always had that something truly beautiful and good can come to us by way of the electronic world. One example is the way in which JMG’s forums gave people the courage to stand strong in the case of ∨⍺x⍳nati○n madness. What would the last few years have been like with only MSM news sources and no Internet? There are some spaces in the computer world where baleful influences are less pronounced. For the most part, these are places whose features have a less clear work-to-profit calculus than the mainstream channels. These places are analogous to druids’ groves, temples at the tops of mountains or shrines on tiny windswept islands. As anyone reading this can attest, it’s still possible to find something uplifting in the online world, it just requires you to operate on a different wavelength than the people filling the social media warrens.

  205. Mary Bennett @ 173

    I think you are correct that “nothing less will serve to convince believers in the Church of Progress”. Despite the obvious warning signs the only response we see is denial and doubling down. This is why I often point out that part of decline is a decline in the ability to recognize decline. What saddens me is that when Nemesis arrives she will strike the innocent and guilty alike.

    What did you mean by “of all political persuasions” in regards to progress-believers?

  206. Where else on the ‘net can one engage in an intelligent conversation on the two poles of evil? JMG and this ecosophia website rock!

    As an amateur vedic astrologer and geomancer, the descriptions of Ahrimanic evil and Luciferian evil sure seemed familiar (i.e., Rahu – dragon’s head – north node of the Moon – Caput Draconis for the former and Ketu – dragon’s tail – south node of the Moon – Cauda Draconis for the latter). It is also interesting to note that in Hinduism there are 8 types of pride (of family heritage, of social status, of beauty, of physical strength, of scholarship, of wealth, of power, of spiritual attainment) of which the worst is “spiritual pride” (Luciferian evil). Also, I sometimes ponder over the fact that Western astrology traditionally used these two “shadow planets” (nodes of the Moon) but at some point (maybe late 18th or early 19th century?) abandoned them – excepting in cases of eclipses. Any idea why they were dropped?

    JMG: in your reply to Paradoctor you replied, “it’ll be interesting to see which city in a state north of there becomes the new home of those pompous people who think it’s their privilege and duty to tell everyone else what to do”. Ummm… if one keeps looking north there’s a whole country whose government has gone stark-raving Luciferian! Their incessant virtue signalling and bullying of the “common people” is totally over-the-top. Just sayin!

    While doing SOP this morning, a powerful thought popped into my mind about His Vileness Klaus Schwab (leader of the Word Economic Forum) as the Pope of the Church of Luciferian Evil (globalist transhumanist worship of technology and missionary zealot of technocracy) and Justin Trudeau and his Cabinet full of WEF-ers as his Bishops. What will ultimately become of them? I take comfort in your reply to Neptune’s Dolphin, “As for what happens when people go full throttle into Luciferic evil, they surrender to the rage, chase away everyone else, and die all alone with minds full of hatred.” Be it either the “Hitler in the bunker” final scene or “life imprisonment in solitary confinement” final scene, I’m OK with that. After all, what goes around comes around…

  207. @JMG, et al.,

    This just appeared in a prestigious scientific journal. Well, OK, so it was Popular Mechanics 🙂

    In any case, it seems apposite to the topic at hand…

    “Objective Reality May Not Exist At All, Quantum Physicists Say”

    https://science.slashdot.org/story/22/07/02/2331223/objective-reality-may-not-exist-at-all-quantum-physicists-say

    “Does reality exist, or does it take shape when an observer measures it? Akin to the age-old conundrum of whether a tree makes a sound if it falls in a forest with no one around to hear it, the above question remains one of the most tantalizing in the field of quantum mechanics, the branch of science dealing with the behavior of subatomic particles on the microscopic level…. “

  208. There is a website called “22 teachings”, apparently from a center of hermetic teachings in Lost Angeles.
    I don’t know much about Hermeticism, but I notice 2 things about it 1) there obviously is an expansive curriculum on offer and several esoteric online services 2) it strikes me as the kind of PMC magick society that has often been up for debate here on Ecosophia.

    One thing struck my eye especially:
    https://22teachings.com/2022/02/04/a-love-letter-from-the-dark-side-by-dream-teacher-vanessa/

    …is this dabbling with beings not so well meaning?
    The woman also writes about “Faery Magick” – because “Faeries” were mentioned in this post, in a negative connotation if I didn’t understand anything wrong.

    Is this the Zeitgeist of blindly allowing one’s baser nature to run amok with magick i.e. the kind of evil that wallows in pleasure, desire and recklessness?

    Not to spread any satanic panic here ofc.

    regards, Curt

  209. Hi John and friends,

    This is a very interesting read and one that has had me thinking over the last few days on what it could all mean.

    I agree with Steiner that the Luciferic era is indeed in the past (although it still lingers around, especially amongst advanced souls who tire of the Earth). The truth is it really did hold a lot of value with the then Monotheistic religions and the concept of “The Earth is evil – follow God to paradise” mindset. People in the past used to only live for the sake of fighting their sins and having an spiritual paradise awaiting for them, an excuse because of the hardships of their own lives.

    Which itself brings us to an interesting phenomenon – the Ahrimanic evil. I would say starting from the 18th century, this evil has been growing, rooted in the religions of capitalism, communism and fascism that themselves have helped to inspire the new ideologies we live in today. All material inspired.

    Regarding Michael, if you read Steiners’ original writings, he does talk of “Christ” being in the middle. Yet this itself is an interesting question. Is it Christ still running the show…or now Michael? I have read from Crowley to the Theosophical writings of a new being taking over the role.

    For Crowley it was Horus (associated with Michael and Marduk respectively) where as for the Theosophists, the Count of St. Germain. Both aspects are said to have a purple, velvet colour.

    This itself could signify a new diety fighting the darkness today (if you believe in good vs evil). Which means that the Ahrimanic evil, the sins of greed and materialism, seems to be that evil. Yet its also fascinating this also ties in with the rise of Indivdualism and the me, me, me culture, a huge Ahrimanic evil if there ever was one.

    Yet and this is the fundamental question – what new “religions” could be flowered out of this battle against the Ahrimanic? If the Monotheistic faiths indeed were combating say the Luciferic sins, what could replace the old and dusty Piscean orientated faiths with Aquarian based cultures?

    And how does the rise of the Ahrimanic evil assoicate themselves with the new great cultures to be born? I cannot see a retreat into the Luciferian mindset so this itself remains a question. A big one.

    A bigger question though is this – what would be good Ahrimanic values? Behind every evil there is a good. For the Luciferian it would be charity, kindess, helping others. Yet I cannot really see any Ahrimanic ones forming yet (aside from the protection of animals) because so far, the sins heavily outweigh any benefits.

    Forgive me John if I have got this wrong and have gone way off centre here but would be interested in your thoughts and to see if you can clean anything up here.

    Thanks

  210. Tony A
    Thank you. It just gave me a hit of looking down from Maleny at the Glasshouse mountains in springtime with all the trees in blossom: one of the most beautiful views in the world.

  211. To Simon Peacecraft at #219:

    I also used “Inside the Magic Lodge” as research for a table top role playing campaign. Glad to see I am not alone!

  212. Tony A
    The more I have thought about it, the more I think the aboriginal people exist on this same sufferance, which was fine as long as they aligned themselves with it, but why they fall so hard when they don’t. Not that they have had all that much choice in most cases.
    Maybe it is like surfing a big wave. If you catch it right you get a great ride, if not you get seriously wiped out, which may be a metaphor for our present times as well.
    Stephen

  213. My last day working this week, I was getting set to bang anchors onto the rail and talked about how one of the fellows who had been working there for awhile was so irritated how all the new guys took lots of swings with the sledgehammer to bang one anchor on. The fellow I was talking with mentioned we just have to commit to knocking it on. That got me thinking back to this post, how fear and pride could be like the subnatural and the supernatural causing one to not perform their best potential, while instead just committing to doing ones best allowed one to do their best. I started banging the anchors on in one swing that afternoon. Hopefully I can continue next week!

    That experienced helped me to better understand how the subnatural, in one sense our primitive selfs, and the supernatural, the higher self, interact with our human self. Too often we commit to the primitive or to intellect. In doing so, we neglect the human. This idea lead me back to why initiation is so important a part of our life. Without committing ourselves to being human we don’t open the doors to our best potentials but too often let physical desires and/or higher abstractions lead us down paths of destruction.

    PS:

    If there was a series of posts that were identical please delete all but one. I had some weird error saying verification failed

  214. Tony, Steiner and Jung make a very useful pair, not least because each corrects the other’s worst mistakes. As for me, well, I’m not really a mystic, so thank you but I’ll pass the medal to somebody else.

    Stephen, ha! That’s painfully accurate.

    Anabel, you’re welcome.

    Info, of course! The whole Transhumanist schtick is pure American Protestant dispensationalist theology rewritten in the language of cheap science fiction, with superintelligent AIs standing in for Jesus, outer space as heaven, the Singularity as the Second Coming, those robot bodies as the resurrection bodies of the elect, et cetera. As far as I can tell they haven’t had a single original idea yet.

    Simon, okay, that’s a new one for me — a Mormon/Anthroposophist mashup? Thank you for this; I needed my brain stretched. As for Inside a Magical Lodge, I’m delighted to hear that, and I hope the campaign went well. (I remember GURPS in its early iterations, and played Melee and Wizard, the two proto-GURPS games, quite a bit.)

    Logo, I’ve heard the same thing from other people who were into computers early on, for what it’s worth.

    Ron, I’m not at all sure when the lunar nodes dropped out of common use in Western astrology; the astrology of the nodes is something I plan on taking up in the near future, using Renaissance and early modern sources — fortunately the Rosicrucian ephemeris I use by preference includes the nodes as a matter of course. As for Canada, maybe so, but that would require people in America to notice that Canada exists, and I’m not sure that’s a stretch most of us are willing to make just yet!

    Sgage, and there’s Plato and Nagarjuna and a bunch of Vedic sages sitting near the finish line, having already finished their Gatorade, looking up at the physicists and saying “What took you so long?” 😉

    Curt, I’ve had no dealings with the 22 Teachings people, but my teacher John Gilbert did, and warned his students away from them. Their curriculum, to judge by the website, is entirely stuff you can learn yourself out of readily downloadable sources for free. Beyond that, I have no idea.

    Ksim, Steiner’s teachings are complex. In his view, ever since the Crucifixion, Christ has been the regent of the Earth and is deeply involved in the further course of human evolution. Lucifer and Ahriman are also enduring presences. Michael, the archangel of the Sun, and Sorath, the evil spirit of the Sun, are more temporary; they’re simply the beings ruling the positive and negative aspects of the current Sun epoch, which began in 1879 and will continue until 2234. As for your questions, those are among the issues we’ll be working out over the next 2160 years!

    Prizm, a fine meditation on the two currents — thank you for this.

  215. starfish @ 221, thank you for the kind remarks and I meant just what I said. I know of no political faction, in the USA, I cannot say about other countries, which does not count on “growth” and technological, “they’ll think of something” fixes to heal what ails this world, or at least, allow them to maintain their comforts and privileges.

  216. @ksim – good Ahrimanic values would be in taking pleasure in the physical things of this world – “a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou, beside me in the wilderness….”- Ben Franklin’s “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”Or from somewhere in the Hebrew Testament, “rejoice in the wife of your youth…..” (or husband, as the case may be,), the pleasure of nursing your baby, of whatever sport you enjoy, and yes, of punching out the local bully when he’s asked for it. Of petting the cat and rejoicing in his soft fur.

  217. JMG
    My life has been quite amazing so far. Born in 1940, it has spanned the rise, peak, and early stages of decline of energy, medicine, US empire, tech, global economy, travel,etc. It is also probably the only time in history that I can think of that has permitted someone, such as myself, with a modest upper middle class inheritance , living cheap and doing whatever work came up to travel to and live in as many places as I have. I have been very drawn to some places and repelled from a few. I have had ‘past life memories” of lives in some of them. I am not sure if these are true or just my imagination..If true, can we be given a life that kind of sums up some past ones?l
    Also two of my memories involve the US and Spanish civil wars, as an extremely committed anti slavery and anti confederacy soldier in the former and republican, international brigade member in the latter, having killed in the former and been killed in the latter. I was a civilian photo journalist in Vietnam for awhile
    in this life. It has felt to me that I had to see war from the outside without being on either side. Does any of this make any sense to you, or am I just smoking my shorts?
    These three lives would also have been so close together as to almost be a continuum. The last one would also have had me alive at the same time as the people who became my parents in this life. I am just curious if any of this makes any sense at all
    Thanks, Stephen
    Also is it true you have another blog as well Dreamwidth? If so, how does one access it?

  218. Third (from my comment #212), before I get called down to breakfast and wind up too busy yet again, your speculation resonates with me because the Oharai no Kotoba (Great Words of Purification) mentions “sins of Heaven and sins of Earth,” and the more I consider what each of these stands for, the more I think you have your hand on ancient wisdom. The original version of the Oharai no Kotoba dates from about a millennium ago and the elements in question, from the Kojiki. Jinja Honcho omits the descriptions of the sins, apparently for political reasons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oharae#History , and some practitioners I know find them too graphic. When I am performing a real exorcism, I add them back in. Grand Tsubaki Shrine, who have never gone along with political fads, normally includes them.
    Rev. Barrish explained many years ago that the distinction between “sins of Heaven” and “sins of Earth” was that the former were intentional, while the latter were “shale happens” sorts of defilements. I think this is basically correct. In analyzing each respective set, the former describe acts that result in disturbance of proper natural order or cause disorder that would harm many people, such as filling in irrigation ditches and casting feces about. These are intentional and typically stuff one does in a rage to get back at someone else.
    The “sins of Earth” include heedless violence, incest, damage from winds, birds, beasts and bugs and the like. Thus it sounds very much like the distinction you are describing.
    This morning as I gave my periodical prayer for recovery from the COVID mash-up, I noted that I had included words from the “sins of Earth” in describing what had gone wrong. I also describe it as having been fascinated by technology, like the sorcerer’s apprentice” and inviting the attention of a demon (an element I added from my conversation with the priestess I spoke of above).
    Being called away! More later…

  219. JMG,

    Fascinating topic. The implications are much more profound than I had imagined. For example, I had no idea that the binary thinking we see in public life might have its roots in modern life’s electronic over stimulation. I’m going to have to think about this one more in depth.
    One question though. I have noticed that the generations growing up with the internet or digital music appear to have disjointed thinking. Is this a product of the digital sample rate versus the analog signals? It’s something I’ve always wondered about.

  220. Stephen, it’s been an astonishing time to be alive, for all its unpleasant features. What you’re saying doesn’t sound unrealistic to me — my last life, for example, overlapped my parents’ lives by quite a few years, and a lot of people have been being reincarnated very quickly after each death these days — no surprise there, given the extraordinary numbeer of human bodies to fill. My other journal is at https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/ — it gets shorter pieces, several times a week.

    Patricia O, fascinating. Are the “sins of heaven and the sins of earth” related to the distinction between tsumi and kegare?

    BobinOK, that’s a fascinating question. I don’t happen to know the answer but it would be worth experimenting — now that vinyl is coming back into vogue, see if young people who listen to analog recordings are less disjointed.

  221. JMG
    Thank you so much for your answer. Good to get some corroboration that I am not just smoking my shorts.
    In a somewhat related incident a friend of mine told me recently that when his daughter was very young, she turned to him and said in a much deeper and different voice ” Last time I was the daddy and you were the baby”

  222. @Logo Dau #220, JMG:

    I also spent 30+ years in the IT industry. Like you, I was a bit idealistic about the possibilities of IT back in the 1970’s and 80’s. My youthful vision was that we could automate all of the “bullshale jobs” David Graeber wrote about, and leave people free to be creative, or to grow organic food, make well-crafted furniture, etc. In retrospect, I was probably more influenced by the “Whig theory of history” than I knew. Back then, I tended to assume that human evil resulted from a combination of poverty, ignorance and psychological mal-adjustment.

    One of the reasons I ended up becoming an Orthodox Christian, is that only Christianity (as I see it) has a fully realistic view of human malevolence and evil. Solzhenitsyn’s famous saying that “the line between good and evil runs though every human heart” is true to my experience of life. It is also a good antidote to any tendencies toward ego-inflation.

    You mentioned the dictum that “no one ever got fired for recommending Microsoft.” Back in the heyday of mainframes, the same thing used to be said about IBM. In terms of ethics and business models, the two companies are remarkably similar.

    Having now retired from the industry, I have my regrets about it. I have to wonder to what extent I helped destroy the working classes via automation. Useful jobs have been decimated, and “bullshale jobs,” so far from reducing, have only metastasized during my lifetime. Whether the latter is in spite of automation, or because of it, is an open question to me. Maybe the “bullshale jobs” were going to increase anyway, and computers were latched on to as just another tool to make it happen. Who knows?

  223. JMG: Good call-out of Transhumanism as dispensationalism written as cheap science fiction. The Singularity is the Rapture for nerds.

  224. @JMG on tsumi versus kegare, I think that is a different distinction. The Amatsu-tsumi (sins of Heaven) and Kunitsu-tsumi (sins of Earth) both refer to actions–crimes of sorts–while kegare is defilement, a state. One could be defiled as the result of bad luck or by something one has done wrong, or just by birth, as with Original Sin. Experiencing the death of someone close to you would be kegare, for example, but I don’t have a full list of what they consider kegare here, but death, pregnancy and menstruation top the list. Tsumi can also be a state (guilt), but implies the result of wrongdoing.

  225. This hit close to home. I studied in a waldorf school for all twelve years and have a degree in electrical engineering. I giggled at “Steiner said it, I believe it, that settles it” which I deffinetely recognize from the older generation of athroposophists. It is especially ironic since the man himself was something of an intellectual rebel who emphasized the importance of not taking passed down knowledge for gospel.

    I have recently begin to seriously wonder about if there is a tanglible influence of some sort emenating from digital technology. Before my studies I spent a decade as a sound engineer for live events. I have spent an considerable amount of time working with all sorts of signal processors both digital and analog. I can’t shake the feeling that digital tehnology does bring some aspect of it’s foundation in logic and binaries with it even when it is processing signals with a sample rate and -depth so great that no trace of the quantization can be seen or measured.

  226. Considering the natures of Ahrimanic and Luciferian evil, I don’t know if Luciferianism is on the downtrend – rather, it seems to be peaking at this time.

    Many of the problems of modern culture seem to be Luciferian in nature. JMG and commenters have discussed many social pathologies over the years – globalism, finance capital, the cult of progress, transgenderism, postmodernism, Marxism, medical tyranny. It seems strange to see, for example, postmodern Marxist academics and megacorporations work in concert and adopt common rhetoric, but the Luciferian idea provides an interesting common denominator for these factions. What they share is overwhelming arrogance, to the point they believe that their words and ideas can reshape reality, disregarding measurable material factors.

    Today’s most lucrative, celebrated business models involve producing nothing material at all, but moving bits of capital around. At the same time, the transgender movement asserts that maleness and femaleness are defined by whatever a person feels and the obvious reality of men competing in women’s sports and beating them handily is “immaterial,” as it were. The prideful nature of modern progressive politics is most strongly expressed through material disregard. When liberal city governments stop prosecuting most crimes and allow homeless drug addicts to do whatever they wish in public, the disastrous material results spur them to demand the continuation and expansion of these policies. George Gascon, the Los Angeles DA who allowed a crime spree to engulf the city, said his policies would bring about a better society at some undefined point in the future – sacrificing the tangible for an ideal.

    Perhaps these different ideas and factions are moving as one because of this shared mentality. Identity politics has been taken up by corporate giants as a tool to enforce ideological conformity among workers because in the end, both the corporations and the grievance grifters need conformity to function. As for considering Los Angeles an Ahrimanic capital, many people have commented on the seemingly suicidal behavior of media conglomerates like Disney and Netflix, who have been pushing unpopular progressive identity narratives at the expense of their audience. In recent entertainment products, beloved characters like Luke Skywalker have been dragged through the mud, decimating their fanbases, in order to push an agenda. Disney’s behavior was so odious it led to them losing their special district in Florida. These aren’t the behaviors of an industry that’s focused on material profit, but one that’s driven to enforce specific ideals at all costs. The traditional Hollywood model is certainly Ahrimanic, churning out escapist fantasy to rake in money, but what’s happened in the last few years has been a total about-face. The technology industry headquartered in San Francisco and Silicon Valley is seen as the ascendant business force, with Hollywood lagging far behind.

    Even the currently prominent forms of hedonism have a distinctly Luciferian character. Transgender identification is driven by a fetish directed not at specific acts or objects, but at being seen and seeing oneself in a specific way. For men who are caught up in this, the lure of inhabiting the role of a Barbie doll caricature is such that they’re willing to remove their genitals and lose the capacity for physical sexual pleasure in order to better fulfill their idealized persona. A lot of Internet pornography has moved in this direction, as it seems to foster addiction better than the more straightforward Ahrimanic sexual content. Especially with the onset of Covid, physical reality and experiences have been disparaged in favor of virtual experiences. The cult of expertise has been lauded even as experts’ predictions and prescriptions have collapsed – I don’t know if you could find a better Luciferian high priest than Dr. Fauci.

  227. Speaking of dysfunctional triads in narratives, it struck me that the current war displays the same format in both narratives presented by the two sides. For the West, they are the rescuers (of course, Dudley), Ukraine the victim, Nell tied to the rail-lines, and Russia is the perpetrator Snidely. For Russia, they are the rescuers (of course), Donbass the victim, and Ukraine the perpetrator. To me … it looks like a concerted effort by the West to deplete whatever few resources they have left, and blame it on an external agent. While Russia is definitely, in some manner, in search of a lost identity, and a self-worth based on strength, yet rooted in insecurity.

  228. Hi David,

    Mate, not to be a downer, but 100m2 is probably not enough land on a less intensive basis. My gut feeling is that 800m2 would be more appropriate for that many people, and even then, you’d want to return everything to the soil. On the other hand, most people import soil minerals every single day of their lives anyway, they just tend to also export them to the oceans. What to do. What to do. 😉

    Cheers

    Chris

  229. ” . . . it’s been an astonishing time to be alive, for all its unpleasant features.”

    It’s astonishing to be alive, for all its unpleasant features?

    To me, the ‘default position’ is ‘nothingness’?

    Yet, ‘I’ am ‘here’. {I don’t know about ‘you lot’ [you may be the product of my imagination 🙂 ]}.

    ‘Anything’ is possible?

  230. Hi John Michael,

    I don’t really have a lot to add to this conversation, mostly because I’m looking for opportunities out of binary thinking, which I kind of note is often served up in advance as the only possible options. It ain’t so!

    On the other hand, I may have mentioned to you last year, that the banksters were going to go all out on the interest rate option. What surprises me is that serious people tend to believe the authoritas will use more politically problematic responses, which they could do, they just don’t have the gumption and ability to lead. Of course, there is a school of thought which suggests that we’re being lead face first into a cliff wall. A very unpleasant experience.

    Crazy days, huh?

    Cheers

    Chris

  231. JMG wrote: “Patricia O, thanks for this. I think there’s unquestionably something trying to earth out in the whole AI business, but my guess is that it won’t be able to do so for a variety of reasons, not least because the forces that are trying to earth out that “something” aren’t unopposed. But we’ll see.”

    Dear God Almighty!

    JMG, can you elaborate….please….
    Is AI acting as a portal for unfriendly entities to create mischief here?
    Many thanks!

  232. About Neo-Pagans and their Luciferian Evils. What I have noticed is that a lot of people are very depressed. Anger turned inward is depression. Since I wrote, a lot of them and other Progressive types have all dropped down into a shapeless heap claiming that there is no future since the U.S. Supreme Court destroyed it with their rulings.

    An aside: I am old. I was around when signs went up saying, “Save Our Republic. Impeach Earl Warren.” So much for the Supreme Court doing what people think it should.

    Does Luciferian evils do that to a person? Or is it a combination of Luciferian evils with Progressivism? Or does Progressivism of today encourage Luciferian evils?

    As for me, my view of the situation is simply that we have had too much Order, and right now Chaos in all its full (Orange Glory) needs to bust out.

  233. Hi temporaryreality, thanks! I’m familiar a little with this stuff as zeer fridges, sand between two clay pot that you pour water through so that it evaporates. I’ve never actually tried to make one though.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot-in-pot_refrigerator#:~:text=A%20pot%2Din%2Dpot%20refrigerator,which%20the%20food%20is%20placed.

    Aaron’s set up seemed similar, but unique. I generally thought his high-tech/low-tech mix of solutions interesting.

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  234. JMG,

    You wrote: “There’s a real world out there—that was easy enough to demonstrate—but we have no immediate (that is to say, unmediated) access to it.”

    Would mind demonstrating or suggesting a source which demonstrates that there is a real world out there? My contemplations have always affirmed that because we cannot experience “the world” directly, it’s existence can only ever be an expedient assumption. I’d love to dive deeper into the whole issue, however.

    Thanks!

  235. In my above comment, I think I said that one can never “experience” the world directly, which is imprecise, since experience is always intermediate, and never direct. One can never *know* the world directly, one can only know one’s experience of the (hypothetical) world.

  236. JMG, you wrote: “I’m not really a mystic”.

    So why do you think you’re not a mystic, and how would you define a mystic anyway?

  237. re: #68: One volume on Philosophy of the Middle Ages? “Classics of Western Thought” is a three volume set, with v. 1 being the Ancient World, v.2 Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation, and v. 3 is the Modern World. Vol. 2 blurb: “Most major literary forms are represented: essay, poem, short story, play, novel, memoir, epigram, scientific discourse, philosophical treatise, political manifesto, and religious proclamation. Major subject areas include art, music, education, mathematics, biology, psychiatry, religion, philosophy, politics, economics, and physics.”

    Borrow it from here, or buy it an any of the usual places.
    https://archive.org/details/classicsofwester02thom

    OK, so it’s not just medieval philosophy, but where do you draw the line between philosophy and any of those other topics? If nothing else, it’s intellectual context.

  238. Robert and Nachtgurke, who, in reply to you, said this:

    “I think you’re certainly right about subjectivity. While it might be true what I wrote and there’s something to gain from such considerations, it completely misses the point that while we can say a lot of fancy intellectual stuff about photons and atoms and stuff, we know next to nothing about them. We have no knowledge about the nature of their existence, we don’t know what they are and I think we also don’t know what the nature of the laws that govern the world of photons and their quantum companions is. I mean, what’s that, a “law of nature”? Certainly not a formula written on a sheet of paper… If you prickle open a part of nature and try to study it’s interior, at some point you realize that you gaze into a glaring abyss.

    “But we do know what red is, for sure. Even in perfect darkness, we can dream of a red rose. There seem to be laws that govern this subjective world and maybe it’s possible to deconstruct our subjective perception in the same way it’s possible to do with our of perception of the external world, I don’t know. But a red rose is something to see, anyway. What’s more real, then?”

    I’m glad you are both thinking about this from the “subject” direction…

    I’ve often wondered why we are so set on discovering “objective reality” when “subjective reality” is so easy to discover. All we have to do is recognise that whatever an experience means, whatever a perception represents, the experiencer/the perceiver exists, because *we* are them.

    Instead of pursuing an ever-receding “objective reality” to (say) “photons and atoms and stuff” through all the layers of intermediation that our sensory apparati (which may be greatly enhanced by various sensory prostheses) interpose, might it be more profitable to ask if there is a “subjective reality” to “photons and atoms and stuff”, accepting that we can never know anything about for the simple reason that we cannot BE them, ie – “we [can] have no knowledge of their [interior] existence.”

    Could we then propose an intelligent surmise that trying to “prickle open a part of nature [so as] to try to study it’s interior” cannot be a useful strategy, on the basis that anyone trying to gain knowledge of *my* interior by “prickling [me] open” is going to succeed at nothing more than destroying both me and the chance to know me? And be content that the possibility of any two subjects being able to mutually interact, even while each perceives the other “askew” through various layers of intermediation, is what makes life beautiful and savourable and good?

  239. Dear JMG (ad #230),

    You write that Steiner and Jung correct each other’s worst mistakes. What are, in your opinion, these worst mistakes?

  240. I’d consider it, but the ancient Scandinavians were only able to describe the portions of the electromagnetic spectrum they could see. I suspect Bifrost’s main structural elements occurred in the 10-nanometer range of extreme ultraviolet.

  241. @patriciaormsby

    This notion of “defilement” is all about ritual purity that renders renders you “unclean”. I find Japanese notions of Ritual Purity and Biblical Notions of it very similar.

    Interestingly. “Ritual Purification” which in the Mosaic Law and I suspect Japanese “Ritual Purification” that probably involves Bathing and Laundering the clothes as well as the use of Fire to sterilize may be quite similar to how the Jews handled things back in the day. Which served Hygienic purposes and limited the spread of disease.

    The “Water of Purification” involved recipes to create soapy water to “Ritually Purify” objects and people.

    “Here’s how to make that “water of purification”: slaughter a cow, burn it whole, and throw some “cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet” into the fire. Then take the ashes and add water (Numbers 19). Water, ash, and animal fat are ingredients for soap.”

    https://www.isegoria.net/2018/08/moses-the-microbiologist/

  242. Re the cat in the box experiment: Surely the question of whether the cat is alive or dead is only applicable to YOU, the experimenter, who can calculate the probabilities of aliveness or deadness, but cannot confirm the actual state of affairs without lifting the lid and checking.

    From the cat’s point of view, it knows whether it is alive or dead. It is never in a spooky half-state. Also, many other people could take a peek in the box and know whether the cat is alive or dead, but unless they inform you, it does not change your situation of uncertainty.

  243. Thanks JMG for a great essay and the group for consequent discussion of equal quality.

    Hi Jeff, re your comment (#32) and JMG’s reply.

    It was re internet porn.

    Isn’t this bad because remote use of it supports and advances the internet porn industry (which is by and large based on the worst kinds of enforcement and compulsion directed at vulnerable young people with few other choices, and its business model probably results in many deaths, disfigurements etc)?

    Sure, use of it is also bad inter-personally as you indicate, but isn’t it a relatively straightforward example of the transistor-enabled release of Ahramanic ‘spiders’ to go about the noxious business of corrupting minds?

    As a parent of two young men, i recall an intense conversation with my then 18 y.o. and his friends late one night, where they wondered what their lives would have been like if they hadn’t been exposed to internet porn at the age of 14 (or whatever). In each case, they thought that things may have gone quite differently with regards their relationships since, and the directions they took in their lives more generally. Porn is powerful – most of all among the young, where it can do all manner of harm. Worst of all It teaches objectification of others in the lowest of ways.

    I do believe that it will surely be the principal driver for the ultimate disappearance of the internet (along with all of the good things that the internet offers us). Infestations do ultimately eat themselves and they take stuff down with them along the way.

  244. @ JMG
    I am stretching my definitions a little, yes (I get the distinction of mage, mystic and occultist), but after all, Jung was a ‘Psychologist’, Steiner was a ‘Philosopher’ and you are an… “author, blogger, and astrologer “… apparently.
    mmm….how about, “ most venerable and ornery source of wholistic analysis and wisdom on the internet” – with most enlightened commentariat to boot, of course.

    @ Stephen P
    Regarding Australia’s Aboriginals and their arrangement with the land… one has to wonder how a people could sustain a single culture in such a difficult environment, for so many tens of thousands of years, whilst remaining virtually unchanged (for at least the last 10’000 or so), let alone surviving and thriving.
    One also might wonder why the peoples of Indonesia, and Polynesia gave the place a miss on their great migrations – they were certainly capable of getting here and co-habiting with, or even displacing, the local Indigenous folk.

    Given that the first Indigenous migrations appear to have taken place around 50 to 60000 years ago, the geological earth was a very different place back then, and much has happened to it since. Who were these original people? What culture or ‘technology’ did they arrive with? Why did they come here, and then for stay so long?

    The other significant fact that stands out in my mind is that the Australian Aboriginals never built any significant structures at all….not even things like burial mounds or tombs of any sort, let alone standing stones, temples or astronomical observatories.

    I can only assume that in this land and during the eons they have spent here, they have come to the conclusion that it’s all a bit pointless, this creating of monuments to ourselves, and trying to impose ourselves upon the earth. They have a very particular/ peculiar and unique character, these folk (*dare I call it a ‘natural wisdom’?), and are fond of ‘joking’ that… “we were here before you came, and we’ll still be here when you’re gone”.

    *That is, those who have not already been utterly destroyed by the imposition of Faustian ‘civilization’.

  245. As for the “subjective” vs. “objective” reality of color-perceptions:

    Russian doesn’t have a word for “blue.” It has two words, síniĭ and golubóĭ, which refer to different ranges of colors that mostly align with the range of colors we call “blue,” but don’t perfectly coincide with them. (Síniĭ is darker than golubóĭ, ranging out into what we might call “indigo” or even “purple” in English. Golubóĭ can range even into what we might call “blue-green.”)

    So Russians can’t imagine or dream of a “blue” object as such, only of an object which really is (to their perceptions) either síniĭ or golubóĭ. And some of those objects might not be even called “blue” in English, but “indigo,” “purple” or “blue-green.”

    Also, even among English speakers, there is no prefect agreement whether certain intermediate colors are really “blue” or “green”: my wife and I frequently disagree about whether some particular object should be called “blue” or “green,” to the point where it has become a running joke between the two of us.

    As the professional linguist (and Theosophist) Benjamin Lee Whorf observed back in the 1940s, one’s native lnguage actually does have a very strong effect on one’s habitual thought and behavior. (NB: “habitual,” not “possible.” One can, with some considerable effort, think outside one’s habitual categories derived from one’s native language.)

  246. Tony A
    Very interesting and a big I don’t know on my part. I can see that west of the Dividing Range might not have suited them, but I would think the east coast would have done fine. Gavin Menzies in his book 1423, The Year The Chinese Discovered The World, mentions Chinese presence in Australia going back to, I think, about 800. There is an observational pyramid near Gympie Qld that I would love to see, but the landowner got tired of visitors and the site is closed. i guess there are rock carvings, not there, that show Chinese on horseback. There were also mines, I think primarily for tin. I think the Chinese were mostly interested in geographical/ astronomic knowledge and mines, and not in permanent settlements. Sounds kind of like what they still do.Interesting stuff. Our version of history has been so shaped by what fits the western narrative. Interesting stuff.
    Stephen

  247. Stephen, that kind of thing is quite common, all things considered. Dr. Ian Stevenson collected whole volumes of such accounts in his research into past life memories; look him up online and you can find pointers to his books on the subject.

    Paradoctor, yep. You’d think they’d show a little imagination!

    Patricia O, thanks for this! Since I have very little knowledge of Japanese I figure it’s always best to ask.

    Falk, thanks for this — if it’s principally the older generation of Anthroposophists who are neck deep in fundamentalism, that gives me hope that future generations will shake it off and make good use of what Steiner had to say. As for digital vs. analog, for what it’s worth, I think you’re right.

    Logo Dau, fair enough. Thanks for this.

    Brazzart, I ain’t arguing!

    Postkey, as compared to being alive at another time in history, of course.

    Chris, crazy days indeed. The price of oil is dropping like a rock now as the world slams into recession. Stay tuned…

    Karim, well, that was one of the things I discussed in this post, you know!

    Neptunesdolphins, hmm! That’s fascinating, that their response is depression rather than rage. From the point of view I learned, anger is a secondary emotion used to cover grief, fear, or shame — it’s less miserable to feel angry than to feel any of those three primary emotions — so the fact that they’ve gotten past the rage into the grief suggests that maybe, just maybe, they’re beginning to grapple with the real nature of their problems.

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

    Alexander, I suggest Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason as a starting point.

    Batstrel, as I use the term, mystics focus on love, mages on power, and occultists on wisdom. Me, I’ve got my affections but love isn’t that strong a factor in my personality or my spiritual life; I spent a while on the path of power and finally got myself sorted out and began the quest for wisdom.

    Robert K, that’s a subject for an entire post, if not a book. The absurdly short form is that Steiner took his imaginal experiences too literally and Jung didn’t take his literally enough.

    Walt, funny. Duly noted.

    Siliconguy, yes, I saw that! Seriously cool.

    Martin, and if you take the Schrodinger thought-experiment that way, it becomes a restatement of simple common sense, which I rather like.

    Robert M, a fine example! Japanese, similarly, used to use one word — aoi for green and blue indiscriminately, and they had no word for “orange” until they borrowed one from English (it’s orenji).

  248. The Scottish science fiction author Ken MacLeod derisively described the transhumanist fantasy of people downloading their minds into computers as “the Rapture of the Nerds” in one of his novels.

  249. Dear JMG,

    concerning Jung and Steiner: now you got me hooked – that’s certainly something I’d love to read about.

  250. Re Fresno: a convenient step on the way to Yosemite National Park, given the Fresno-Yosemite International airport.

    Re color: I think of the words we use for colors as shorthand to express the experience of seeing certain wavelengths of light, and the red rose as a rose that tends to most strongly reflect the wavelengths that we call “red”. Of course, it can only reflect those wavelengths if they happen to fall on it first. It’s true that other folks probably experience those wavelengths somewhat differently than I do, and perhaps different people are more sensitive to different wavelengths. And clearly, the word categories are a bit fuzzy, so that different people have slightly different ranges of wavelengths in mind when they use a particular color word.

    Re “From the point of view I learned, anger is a secondary emotion used to cover grief, fear, or shame — it’s less miserable to feel angry than to feel any of those three primary emotions”: hmm, I find anger considerably more miserable to feel than the other three. And I’ve noticed that stereotypically the men around me default to anger at times that the women might instead default to sadness. Sometimes I wonder if that’s related to the fight / flight / flee / freeze strategy that is most often well-adapted to a person’s strengths & weaknesses.

  251. Call for the Robin-Redbreast by John Webster (1580(?)–1625(?))
    CALL for the robin-redbreast and the wren,
    Since o’er shady groves they hover
    And with leaves and flowers do cover
    The friendless bodies of unburied men.

    The robin-redbreast has always had a breast that is most definitely orange. But back in the day they had no word for orange; it was considered a shade of red. It was only since oranges were imported from the East that orange became recognized as a separate color. The name derives from the Tamil word naranja via Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Italian, and French.

    Trick question: What was William of Orange called before the orange fruit was known?
    Answer: William of Orange. Orange is a town in south-eastern France known in Roman times as Arausio. The name has no connection with the fruit.

    Trivia: In Afrikaans an orange is known as a lemoen. A lemon is known as a suurlemoen (sour lemon). The word naartjie derived from naranja introduced by slaves from the East applies only to tangerines or mandarins.

  252. Question – the 200-year cycle you mentioned between Ahrimanic and Luciferic made me remember that in the 20th Century, especially during the Cold War, the major point of out propaganda and our pride was all the lovely consumer goods the Free World could offer. Of course, “Godless Communism” was only a short distance behind the bragging about the store shelves, but even so, just think how many “Russians in America” shows centered around the goodies. And of course, the 21st has proven so Luciferic that, as you pointed out in Twilight of Pluto, the crassest economic interests come wrapped in a thick coat of moral values. Any comment on that?

  253. Robert Matthiesen . @ 263

    What is the best essay or book to learn more of Benjamin Lee Whorf’s ideas. I read the linguist John Mcwhorter’s books. I like mcwhorters books a lot but he doesn’t think much of whorfs ideas. So I would like to see for myself.

    Also Robert do you know of any good resources to learn Ukrainian. Current events have given me an interest in that area.

    Thanks

  254. Scotlyn – “Could we then propose an intelligent surmise that trying to “prickle open a part of nature [so as] to try to study it’s interior” cannot be a useful strategy, on the basis that anyone trying to gain knowledge of *my* interior by “prickling [me] open” is going to succeed at nothing more than destroying both me and the chance to know me? ”

    Hmm. I struggle with my thoughts – but I am going to try to write them down… When you are experimenting with nature, clearly there are areas that are very sensitive and the damage you can inflict may easily be far greater than the insights that are possible to gain. But there are also areas where this ratio is much better. If you take a very rough look at a human being starting on a macroscopic scale down to the microscopic building blocks, you have fields of study that are dangerous (“medicine”) or very dangerous (“bio-medicine”, molecular biology), but if you go into even smaller scales (atomic and molecular physics), the risk to gain ratio becomes far better. If you go into even smaller scales (nuclear physics and beyond) this trend reverses again.

    I wrote that that if you take a deep look into nature you stare into an abyss, that’s true. But from a slightly different perspective I can see the same thing and I am filled with a profound sense of wonder. When I think about the double-slit experiment and it’s various variations, this can be an almost mystical experience. For me personally, the difference in perspective is between one of “identification” and “coexistence” – I “see” an electron, atom, molecule, etc. and think “this is me”. With it comes the desire to understand to be able to control. That’s the point when I stare in the abyss. But in this other perspective, I can just look at the results of the double-slit experiment, the SEM-image of a body cell, etc. and be overwhelmed by the wonder of it.

    Likewise you can see other human beings as something alien, possibly dangerous that you need to control, that you need to dissect in order to better understand and control it even more efficiently. Or you can just be touched and again be filled with wonder when you realize the complexity of the individual that you see before you, the individual history and how it shaped individuality and soul. For both approaches you need to take a deep look – but perspective and intention are different. For both approaches you need to “dissect” and analyze to some extend, yet with the first you’re going to find nothing but with the latter you might catch a glimpse what it really is, that you are looking it. And I think this applies for an electron as well as for a human being.

    The question I am asking myself over and over again is, whether we could have achieved the good results without the bad. I doubt this is possible, whereas it might be possible to find an elegant way – at least to some extend.

    Thank’s a lot for engaging with my writing… I found this really difficult to formulate (and I am not satisfied with the result) and since English is not my first language, it might sound a little bit awkward for more than one reason…

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  255. A bit late, but similarly, my understanding is that the ancient Egyptians also lacked a word for “blue” as opposed to “green”; the Mediterranean was “the great green” (contrast Homer’s “wine-dark sea”).

  256. @Will O (#272):

    The best introduction to Whorf’s view of the role language plays in shaping habitual thought and behavior is his article “The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language.” I uploaded the original printing to the web some time ago at

    https://archive.org/details/whorf-1941-relation/page/n1/mode/2up

    It’s been reprinted fairly often, not always with complete accuracy.

    As for learning Ukrainian, I first taught myself to read it back in the 1960s using a 1940s textbook by Jaroslav Rudnyc’kyj, but I had already studied Russian at that time, so I had a leg up in the process. (Russian and Ukrainian both belong to the “family” of Slavic languages, and are fairly similar in the structure of their grammars.) I don’t have any idea what’s available these days. I suppose there are online courses as well as printed textbooks.

    Ukrainian is not an easy language for an English speaker to learn; it’s roughly as complex as Latin, Greek or Russian. A speaker has to decline its nouns, adjectives and pronouns through seven cases, and conjugate its verbs to indicate subtle nuances of meaning (“aspects”) which are not expressed even approximately in English.

  257. My last comment (about Whorf and Ukrainian) somehow went through before I was quite finished with it. If it doesn’t show up, I’ll rewrite it tomorrow.)

  258. Came across a rather interesting-and familiar conceptually to the readers here-diagram from a Christian source: https://www.virtualmirage.org/sermonette-13/ scroll to the very bottom. (Well, do read the joke, but the diagram is at the bottom.)

    Yes, binaries of sins resolved by a virtue between them.

    Just how interconnected are my supposedly unconnected internet readings? Or are trinaries perhaps in the air, or should that be ether?

  259. Lots of stuff to digest here, thanks John. I’m especially surprised by the Steiner quote on the internet, wow, I have to look more into his work.

    While reading your definition of space and time from an occult perspective, I’m also reminded of the first chapter in Liber Legis, supposedly channelling the goddess Nuit, that is space. It’s interesting that she says “Every man and every woman is a star”, referring to the individual will and distinct experience each one have within her body, conforming what you just said. Crowley also interestingly in The Law of Liberty defined her as thus; “Lady of the Starry Heaven, who is also Matter in its deepest metaphysical sense.” Most importantly, is the role of love as the law that governs us within her. I believe that book to have a profound knowledge we are yet to tap into.

    That aside…

    Do you think the software and computing will have any place in a sustainable future? I really hope we keep at least the essential parts of it, find an appropriate way to make and use these machines, rather than funding the enormous projects of quantum computing. Reading on the Fourth Industrial Revolution while bearing your thoughts on the subnatural here is disturbing really. Unfortunately, in KSA the government is working on a megacity called NEOM with an infrastructure that functions almost completely through AI, I really hate how we blindly follow “progress” these days.

  260. One more musing on Ahrimanic/Luciferic concept:

    I’ve perceived the two types of evil, although I haven’t heard them called by those names. However, in my experience, Ahrimanic evil tends to emphasize false unity while Luciferic evil emphasizes false duality.

    I see the peak Ahrimanic era in recent US history as the 1980s. The movie Scarface sums it up. “First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women.” Mountains of cocaine. And false concepts of unity. In the 80s you had an explosion of prosperity gospel preachers, claiming to serve God and mammon as one. Spiritual gurus who got chauferred around in a Rolls Royce and sold $1000 tickets to perfectly landscaped meditition retreats. So many “Christian businessmen” who said their pursuit of profit was done in the service of Christ. Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economics epitomized this false sense of unity, the idea that helping the wealthiest would lead to a better life for everyone, when in fact that rising tide only lifted the largest of ships.

    Today, popular culture is seeing widespread disparagement of the material, which you describe as Luciferic. Articles talk about how “instead of buying houses and cars, Generation Z prefers to collect likes and shares on social media.” Of course this tendency may not be completely voluntary, driven by the bitter material circumstances of the young generation, but it makes for nice copy. Who can forget “I own nothing and I’ve never been happier.”? Underlying all of this is a false duality. All popular brands of politics today are focused on polarization, separating people into good and evil. Whether the duality is compassionate progressives vs. alt-right hate groups or courageous patriots vs. corrupt elites, the Manichean thinking is everywhere.

    Evil behaviors patterned after a “headless body” have no need for a model of other people’s consciousness, hence the sense of false unity. Another Ahrimanic movie is “Less Than Zero,” where the villainous drug dealer tries to convince Robert Downey Jr.’s character that the abuse he inflicts on him is what he truly wants, so there’s no conflict between them. A non-physical, mentally oriented evil that seeks to elevate itself above all else must form a sharp distinction between itself and the lesser existence that is not itself.

  261. @ Stephen

    Interesting indeed…I have seen many Aboriginals in the Kimberly area, who have a rather east-asian like face and eye structure, and many of the peoples of Arnhem Land have a distinctly Indian Tamil-ese look about them, in my eyes. This makes some sense, in that these two areas are considered the most likely entry points for the original inhabitants also. But… no distinct permanent settlements, until the British Crown arrived.

    As to the Maori, migrating from tropical Polynesia, you would think warm tropical QLD or temperate NSW (east of The Divide, as you say) would have been a closer match, climate wise, than Aotearoa – not to mention just closer in general. Funny thing is, they are now a large minority population in most Aust capitals. As they love to quip, “too late…were already here!”.

    Great to hear about some of your other experiences too. An interesting life 🙂

    All the best

  262. A data point regarding color perception. When I am very fatigued my vision shifts in both of my eyes, but differently. From the left I notice skin tones are more red and the other they are more green.

  263. Just for more fun right at the end:
    Scottish Gaelic has many words for blue, green and grey:
    Glas: grey, green/grey
    Gorm: blue/blue green/green
    liath: grey (hair)
    Uaine: green

  264. Thanks for this fascinating article, JMG. I’ve noticed the AI narrative has been taking quite a beating in the media over the past few weeks, with two articles, first in the Scientific American and then in Spiked Online – have surfaced critiquing the notion: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/artificial-general-intelligence-is-not-as-imminent-as-you-might-think1/ and https://www.spiked-online.com/2022/07/04/the-myth-of-artificial-intelligence/

    This may have something to do with the crypto bubble bursting and general loss of market confidence in Big Tech (Meta continues to flail, last time I checked). It will be interesting to see how many are able to keep faith in the Rapture of the Nerds over the next decade.

    A friend of mine and I were discussing these things recently, as she is currently employed by some AI-enthusiasts. We came up with the idea of groups of transhumanist Old Believers surviving into the 22nd century, fervently clinging to hope that the coming of the “Agey Eye” (AGI) was imminent, while scooting into the town on the back of a donkey-driven cart to pick up supplies for their communities.

  265. Sliding in to the end of the comment cycle after reading this three times and meditating it. I’m left with the feeling that we as a country don’t agree on what evil is anymore. Or good for that matter. The individuation of people into single units to be manipulated by powerful people is all that I see around me anymore. I also see a lot of Pavlovian responses to media stimuli. The assertion that that stimuli is rooted in evil is one I’m still wrestling with. I feel like the tools of the internet and media could be used for good, but then I’m back to the top and realizing we don’t agree on what is good and what is evil. Without a standard measure or bar of some sort, it just keep spinning around for me.

  266. @ Nachtgurke – Thank you so much for considering what I said.

    You say: “The question I am asking myself over and over again is, whether we could have achieved the good results without the bad. I doubt this is possible, whereas it might be possible to find an elegant way – at least to some extend.”

    May I draw to your attention the distinction made famous by Buber? To wit – “I/it” vs “I/you” relationships. It seems to me that the “abyss” you talk about comes from framing nature as an “it” (ie – an “object”) to be known so that it can be controlled. Whereas, the discovery of nature (and or any of its parts) through an “I/You” framing (ie – to treat them as “subjects”) lets one learn to know by participation.

  267. @asdfjkl; – re: Japanese word for blue-green, covering both. What color is the sea around Japan?

  268. @Lydia #279 – I’ll repeat the question I asked asdf – what colors are the seas around the West of Scotland? Because Glas and Gorm sound like sea-colors, and Uaine wold probably be the green of land vegetation.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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