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Intermission: The Empty Throne
On the structure of reality, and these essays
It’s been less than a fortnight now since I began this project, and the little corner of the Internet I was planning to write in has grown quite a lot bigger than I expected, and it still appears to be growing. I’m grateful for the interest, at the same time as being slightly intimidated by the number of people watching as I try to lay down in real time what I think about the revelation we’re all currently undergoing. I was planning to develop my thoughts quietly and with minimal fuss, but it seems things might get a bit louder than I expected. So be it.
This is a short intermission between my longer essays; something I will occasionally do if I have something to add to the mix. On this occasion I want to update my throughts about the direction of the project.
Firstly, I want to reiterate that what I write here will not be written to please any of you - or me. Some of what I say is going to be unpleasing; it is going to cut against the grain and I’m sure it is going to be controversial (what isn’t these days?) That’s not a particular desire of mine - controversy can be hard work - but I am not going to shy away from it either. I am going to write what I see, or I am not going to write at all. You might find that my direction of travel grips or alienates you, and either is fine. I am going to keep travelling nonetheless until this work comes to a natural end.
On that note, some of you might be interested in the interview above, recently recorded by the Canadian symbologist and icon-carver Jonathan Pageau, a fascinating thinker who specialises in intriguing discussions about the shape of reality: a shape which is entirely alien to the modern mind. In it, we talk about the version of the Tower of Babel we are all living in, nature and the divine, and the root of the rot in our cultural foundations. I found it a fascinating conversation.
I’m sending this around because at least in some respects it is a clue to the direction I’ll be taking in my work. For many years now it has been crystal clear to me that the shape of reality is the shape of a myth, not a hard drive, and that the path back to understanding it - the way out of the cul de sac of Machine modernity - is a spiritual one. Recently, and surprisingly, the path that has opened up before me has been that of ancient Christianity, and there’s much of that in this discussion. I’ll be writing more about that as this project goes on.
The long-term theme of these essays is the search for that underlying reality. I want to know how we can light little fires that illuminate it, and which might help us see through the dark age to come. But first I want to dig into how we got here, and it looks like these essays are going to divide themselves quite naturally into three parts.
The first part, starting in a few weeks time (I have some other things to get through first) will consist of a six-part series on the Machine we are all living in: what it is, where it came from, what its values are, and how it operates. After that I’ll explore the current moment in more detail, with a series of essays on the meaning of the turmoil all around us, the ‘culture war’ and its values and symbolism. After that, if I’ve not yet been entirely cancelled, I’ll move on to what might come next. This, if you can hold out that long my friends, will be the positive part!
Some of these essays will be publically available, but to read the whole series you will need to take out a subscription. If you choose to stick around, I hope you get something from it; and thanks to all of you for your early interest.