Coincidentally, before opening this post, I just took baby cuttlefish out of the fridge to prepare for dissection in our homeschool science class tomorrow....Interesting designs - capturing the needed defence, swift movement, and adaptabilty needed to deflect the Machine.

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Thanks, Paul. Some good listening ahead!

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I loved that comment in your most recent essay about 'What kind of barbarian do you want to be?'. Reminds me of my favorite meme, which I can't link because it includes the n-word. It's a giant swarm of phrases, and one of them is 'Savage Christ consciousness', which seems to be the goal of your project and your spirituality. That definitely sounds like the best kind of barbarian.

EDIT: Oh and the jellyfish is great. In the TV series Patriot, jellyfish gets used as a metaphor for problems whose attempted solutions just cause even more problems, because jellyfish split, so that's a great image for incipient troublemakers like us!

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Mar 23·edited Mar 23

I watched the Tom Holland one last night, it's an absolute treat. Marcas had very little to do, but he knew when to step back and let you and Tom loose, so to speak.

It was just far, far too short!

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Cheers Paul

Great to read from The Machine State that is New Zealand

Just a quick comment on your conversation with Tom Holland which I found very wonderful. I thought his difficulties with becoming Christian seemed rooted in a very Modern metaphysic, that he was concerned about those who lived before Jesus or those who grew up away from any Christian influence. Jesus after all said that Abraham rejoiced to see His day. Also that there is a thread in the Tradition that all the seekers, find. Your encounter with the strange icons in the Orthodox Church nodded in that direction. The Christ incarnate in Jesus transcends all space and time and therefore cultures. (Chinese translations of John’s gospel begin ‘In the beginning was The Tao’)

Somewhat groping around here, but . . .

Also, was very struck by your comment that the exchange in the garden was ‘knowledge for Life’. Hadn’t seen that. ‘Knowledge’ of course ‘is power’, and the place of science in the contemporary morass is rarely properly examined. Your fellow Orthodox Philip Sherrard does a fine critique in ‘The Rape of Man and Nature’

Finally, I wondered if you’d come across a shortish story called ‘Henry and the Great Society’? Just finished it - a couple of hours - a tragic tale of how the loss of a simple of hard, yet beautiful Life was lost as the techno state reached into the heart of rural America with its enticements to ‘a better life’. Not dissimilar to Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry’s great novel but more jarring for its rapidity. It’s followed by a description of the Satanic nature of the whole enterprise.

Thanks again!


PS not sure about jellyfish - deep rooted unease rooted in days on the beach as a child! :)

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Have you read Eleanor Parker’s “Winters in the World: A Journey Through the Anglo-Saxon Year”?

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Everything by Tom Holland is terrific! I have long thought he should quit pussyfooting around and jump in the water with the rest of us jellys.

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On the subject of secret societies, I somehow stumbled upon this thing a few weeks back, and it left me slightly shaken. I watched for a couple of minutes, which turned into half an hour, and then 4+ hours before I finally went to bed and had bad dreams. It made me think of Paul's contention that we may be in a *literal* spiritual war.

I can say for a fact the United States has what I can only describe as a demonic energy about it these days. And the blind, unstoppable fervour with which it is pushing the globe towards terminal war, particularly against what is an orthodox Christian nation, is disturbing. In any case, this thing is some years old now, and as far as I know, Altiyan Childs remains alive. I don't know if a word of it is true, but I'm convinced the guy *believes* it's true:


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Tyler Cowan has a beautiful conversation with Holland this week. Yes, one gets the impression of Holland standing on the brink but not quite able to enter. I especially liked that Holland seems attracted by Christianity per se, not as a rejection of anything else.

When I converted to Catholicism (formalized a decades-long drift) I found that some folks thought it was because I had become (or always had been) more socially and politically "conservative," which was not the case. :)

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Enjoyed your conversation with Tom Holland. I’ll have to give the other one a listen as well. I agree, the re-enchantment is underway. Exciting times.

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Can someone explain the jellyfish briefly?

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The Marcas conversation was remarkable. Much thanks to Paul Vanderklay for giving me the heads up. Paul also does a wonderful commentary on his page.

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That was wonderful when Tom let the walls down for a moment or two and showed his true heart! I’ve been observing this phenomena of men being drawn to faith since COVID . Are you familiar with a comedian named JP Sears? He just put out a video yesterday called Why I changed my mind about God. He was a spiritual seeker before who had rejected God. His videos have been getting fewer views lately I think, possibly due to his changes , but he has many millions of followers. Anyway, great stuff listening to you and Tom.

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My dear Abbot of Misrule,

I've recently discovered your Substack page, and you may not be interested in or have time for mine, but here’s the link: The Spiritual Thing https://jsbp.substack.com/p/introduction-to-the-spiritual-thing?sd=pf

At 82, I'm probably your senior by decades. And, I was raised in an agnostic family in an agnostic subculture culture, not in New York or Los Angeles, but Grand Rapids, Michigan. By the time I was well into a career in science, I had thought my way out of my agnostic heritage, nudged here and there along the way by bouts of grace.

My website is directed toward thinking agnostics, not so much toward Christians who seek shoring up and direction. In fact, my posts continue my speculative thinking about the relationship of science and the Transcendent Triune God. My hope is that engaging the novelty of my thinking is a way which will engage a few younger persons (25 to 55) who are swimming in the ichthyosaurian sea where once I swam.

What I have to say, is presented in thought verse posts. A thought verse takes only a minute or so to read, but longer to think over. Thought verse is not exactly poetry. Poems are written by souls who are land-rich in language, but thought verses written by souls who are land-poor in language but are land-rich in ideas. The thought verser must reach out for words in which to dress her ideas, so that she can send them out to play.

Anyway, I've been posting thought verse for only a few weeks, but writing it for a few years. Since you seem to interested in conversion accounts, my second post lays out where I found my agnostic self at about ten years of age. I also have a conversion trajectory thought verse which won’t be posted for many months, but I could send it you directly. You might find it amusing. Next weeks' two thought verses (Tues. and Thurs. at 3:00 pm PST) are about my spiritual relationship with Charles Darwin.


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I’ve received a lot of praise for that episode. Not because of me dipping my toe in the river, but because of your talk, Paul. So thanks again for bringing the happy news to my Swedish audience.

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If anyone decides to make t-shirts featuring the jellys please leave a link in the comments. I'll go ahead and pledge to purchase at least one. Thanks!

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