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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, 2023·edited Mar 23, 2023

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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I agree. I was disappointed that Tom's dinner came at such a crucial moment! Maybe we can talk again.

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When I hear of dinner type interruptions I can't help but think of the the first of Lewis' Screwtape Letters (the "Enemy" here is God for the Diabolical Screwtape): "One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years’ work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defense by argument, I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control, and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the countersuggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line, for when I said, “Quite. In fact much TOO important to tackle at the end of a morning,” the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added “Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind,” he was already halfway to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won."

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Marcas is fantastic. He brings together people who can have a great conversation, and then he just stays out of the way until it's clearly time for his next question or maybe a slight redirection of the conversation. When Tom asked Paul how to "slip the moorings," I was leaning in, waiting to hear the answer myself.

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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!

Eric

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

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Lol , yes jellyfish hurt!! I like to blame industrialization for many things, but slavery and violence and family dysfunction are well represented in ancient times as well. Over half of Romans were slaves . And Serfs. Sharecroppers were also basically slaves. I think we are talking about pure evil when we look at how some people treat others.

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Human beings so often exchange their freedoms for slavery of one form or another. The Machine is a profound enslavement.

And then there are the millions who have no choice in the matter.

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Henry and the Great Society is actually an Amish/Mennonite book that I still have several copies of from when we were plain Mennonites (in a vain attempt to find Christian community) and sold books at homeschooling conferences. I’d love to know where you found it?

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Hi Susanne, It’s available on Amazon where I obtained my copy. It was recommended by a young man I’m mentoring when I was talking with him about Jayber Crow. They have very similar themes

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Thank you for responding! I agree the book deserves a much wider audience. It was deemed acceptable reading for Amish and Plain Mennonites and was reprinted by an Amish publishing house with an intellectual bent (Pathway Publishing). It is still for sale in Amish stores in Lancaster County.

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Thanks for telling me about its roots, Susanne. My young friend has some Mennonite in him and frequently refers to Meno Simons (???) pardon my ignorance!! :)

At present he’s in a fairly fundamentalist church but deeply uncomfortable with it. I have a huge amount of appreciation for the Amish, such Wisdom is so rare in the Western tradition

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Paul,

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

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No, but I was recently gifted it by someone, so it's on my lengthy list ...

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Read it soon , you’ll enjoy it!

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Yes , fascinating book , to all I highly recommend it! Just shows how much we have lost of culture and connection!

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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:

https://youtu.be/7Eeo-82Eac8

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I heard a very disturbing story the other day about satanists in Seattle. Granted, I heard it from a guy who heard it from a guy, but it was pretty dark; women in bondage, child sacrifice, the whole nine yards.

It reminds me of a Jonathan Edwards quote: There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell.

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I have just finished Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and that Jonathan Edwards quote could have come from it. The language in it transfixed me.

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I’ve been meaning to get to that one. I’ve read a good bit of his stuff.

He’s a profound writer.

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On that topic, I strongly recommend reading "The Return of the Gods" by Jonathan Cahns.

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"It made me think of Paul's contention that we may be in a *literal* spiritual war."

No doubt in my mind that we are. But as I see it, the real battle, the important battle, is within each of us. Ultimately, any entity initiating attack against peaceful other is doing so out of deep-seated fear, usually unconscious. An attacker is one who has lost/denied the free-will battle within. Given power to choose, one either works toward an inner constitution based on love or one defaults to fear through sloth. There is no middle ground. The power to choose cultivates one or the other. Having lost this "battle within the self", sloth can only escape the pain of defeat by attacking/conquering that which it has denied and by this act create for itself an illusion of control/superiority. Such is the trapped, bully nature of wrath/frustration/powerlessness-- a state of mind we've come to call "evil".

Secret societies are bully organizations formed by the spiritually powerless in order to more efficiently maintain this illusion they have allowed themselves to become addicted to. As every junkie knows, "the high" always ends and you find yourself right back in your previous condition, usually even worse. The illusion of power/authority/superiority is always short-lived and so the power-junkie must repeat its' desperate tactics, attacking humans endlessly, each new horror reigning down more atrocity than the last because the same dose that got you "high" before no longer does the trick.

To be sure, humans are under constant attack, for absolutely no reason, by armies of highly organized power-junkies utilizing increasingly sophisticated technology and occult mind-control tactics refined over a period of around 10,000 years, give or take. Fighting them only gets them "high". Like all dead-end junkies, their way of life will eventually do them in but, you know, they are going to take a lot of us down with them. As ever, in happy times or sad, our only power is to carry on choosing to cultivate love-grounded spirit within. Fear not, what will be, will be, everything's okay, in the hands of god, and all that silly sh*t we say but it really is true.

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One statistic that I saw that really got me thinking was a pie chart on the topics that Jesus preaches about in the Gospels. Hands down, His most preached topic was the “Kingdom of Heaven”.

By that, I think He meant that the willingness to live a godly life and to reject evil is always at hand. It’s always there for you, if you so choose. It may be easier blame others for the evil of the world, but that’s certainly not in the kingdom of heaven.

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I'd like to see that pie chart. Is it available?

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I saw it in Karen Sawrey's "The Infographic Bible".

Here's a link to the website:

https://www.theinfographicbible.com/

Not sure if you can view it online, but the book itself is available.

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What an intriguing book! Looks like I need it ...

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"to reject evil" Ah....that can be a tricky one!

The term "reject" can mean "refuse to accept" which can lead one back into denial of something that is forever within us all: fallibility. All of us, at all times, are completely capable of losing our sh*t and turning "evil". In this sense, then, "evil" is always there within us, side by side with "good", as ever-present spirit of potential aggression. If we reject our own potential to be "evil", imagining/believing that we are infallible, it then follows that this belief now forces us to reject "evil" in others as well. This lays groundwork for trouble.

Sooner or later, others let us "perfect people" down, don't they? = ] They blind-side us with their human fallibility, perhaps in the form of a simple act of neglect or it could even appear to us as outright attack. In any event, this always comes as a shock. We recoil in horror and feel personally slighted when most likely premeditated intent to harm us was not at all a factor.

The way I see it, the trick is not to fight & defeat "evil", nor does the answer lie in banishment or "casting out", but rather in simple vigilance, an ability to keep calm, watchful eye on oneself in order to gain a kind of inner mastery by means of habit-- the habit of never losing sight of ones' own fallibility. By this, we reject not "evil", but our own choice to initiate acts of aggression against folks out there who've chosen to see themselves as perfect beings beyond reproach for whom you & I exist only as disposable window-dressing, artifacts, commodities and curiosities of only peripheral importance inside their dreamworld.

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Well said, man.

Perhaps I should rephrase myself. We should choose to reject evil... continuously.

There's parts of me I wish I didn't know, but I'm glad that I do know because it's helped me to be a better man. In my mind's eye, I've pictured it as struggling with Cain.

Such is the human condition.

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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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free-floating and ungovernable

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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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Another vote for Paul VanderKlay’s insightful analyses of interesting discussions in “this little corner of the Internet.”

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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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Thanks for sharing that. I like him and interested to hear his story.

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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.

JBSPalmer

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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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Glad to hear that, Ivar. Thanks again for inviting me. So much river yet to be swum in, for all of us.

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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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