The Influence of the Subliminal

     In C.S. Lewis's memoir Surprised by Joy, he writes: 

    "Then I read Chesterton's Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense.  Somehow I contrived not to be too badly shaken.  You will remember that I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive 'apart from his Christianity'.  Now, I veritably believe, I thought - I didn't of course say; words would have revealed the nonsense - that Christianity itself was very sensible 'apart from its Christianity'."

    This is a significant insight of Lewis's: that there are some beliefs which become ridiculous once articulated.  Another way to say this is that there are certain ideas that are not believed by argument but because they are propagated subliminally.  But, once stated, it is clear that these beliefs are false.  

    Many of the most powerful and pervasive ideas in the modern world are of this nature.  In his recent post "Do you want Heaven, or the other place, or nothing?  Childhood - Single Adulthood - Marriage/Parenthood", Bruce Charlton articulates what is held up as the goal of modern life: 

    "The potential of human existence is based-upon some version of an idealized young, single-adult life - involving some combination of wealth, power, freedom, high status, fame and attention, travel and leisure, excitement and comfort; lots of preferred-type sex with attractive others and without guilt, strings or recriminations ... 

Underpinned by our own beauty, sexuality, charm, intelligence, dominance, strength and fitness, perfect health and immunity to illness, disease and ageing."

    Of course, this goal is never actually stated explicitly by those who believe it.  No one believes this because they were argued into it; it is simply propagandized endlessly and the alternatives ignored, suppressed, attacked, and mocked.  The belief operates at a sub-rational, subliminal level.  What Charlton has articulated really is what people believe, but like Lewis admitted, if anyone was actually to admit this explicitly, it would be clear how pointless (not to mention impossible) it is as a life goal.  

    Another example relates to managerialism.  In the Middle Ages, theology was referred to as the Queen of the Sciences (science broadly conceived as any intellectual discipline).  By this, it was meant that theology was the central and primary intellectual discipline, the most fundamental and the most advanced, while the other subjects were the handmaidens of the Queen; their job was to serve theology by illuminating other areas of knowledge.  Over time, the science considered Queen of the sciences has changed.  In Ancient Greece (although they did not use that term), the Queen of the Sciences was philosophy; centuries later, the mathematician C.F. Gauss (1777-1855) famously said:

    "Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics.  She often condescends to render service to astronomy and other natural sciences, but in all relations she is entiteld to the first rank."

    while in the early to mid twentieth century, the Queen of the Sciences was considered by many to be theoretical physics.  In all of those cases, there was at least some justification for viewing these disciplines as the most fundamental and central disciplines (also taking into account that the meaning of science narrowed from intellectual disciplines in general to natural science from the Middle Ages to the modern era).  Currently however, the two candidates are either leftism ("studies", etc.), and managerialism.  

    Both of these are treated as if, to paraphrase Gauss, "they are entiteld to the first rank in all relations", i.e., as if these two subjects (I won't call them disciplines) have, by virtue of their superior position, the right and indeed the obligation to critique all other subjects.  To actually argue this would manifest its absurdity, since both of these subjects are obviously extremely light in intellectual content and it is also apparent that they are simply justifications for cultural subversion and bureaucratic takeover.  Thus, even though these two areas  really are treated as the Queen of the Sciences, this is not because of any argument; the belief also operates on the subjective level.  

    Another example is the idea that if we just had the right bureaucratic procedures, then the society would become a utopia.  And this is even taken further when it is assumed that not only can policies guarantee good, but anything bad that happens only happens either because a procedure was not in place or the procedure in place was flawed.  These assumptions are behind almost every media evaluation of any unfortunate circumstances and indeed, the entire birdemic response was based on these assuptions.  As with the other examples, if anyone was to actually try to argue this, it would be seen to be ridiculous, yet vast numbers of people speak and act as if they believe just that.  Once again the influence is below the rational level.  

    And people readily absorb beliefs in this form.  Large numbers of people are very adept at instictively taking up these assumptions, which underpin media and official communications where everything is always interpreted in light of these assumptions (although they are never spoken or argued for). 

    There are three ways out of this, corresponding to the division of human decision making into three parts: instinct, reasoning, and intuition.  One way is to have correct instincts and reject these assumptions and the actions based on them without any deliberation.  Pretty much everyone who lived before 1900 or so would fall into this category.  It's much harder now, for most of us, because we live in an environment where so much is built upon false and unnatural assumptions, so we have to consciously become aware of insticts which correspond to what is true and reject those which work with these false assumptions.  

    The second way, is to explicitly articulate the assumptions, and rationally perceive that they are untrue.  

    And the third way is to strengthen our intuition, by grounding our thinking in what is most good, true, and fundamental.  Although much of intuition operates unconsciously, it is not the same as instinct, because it is based on the spiritual truth about reality, rather than biology.  Both are natural, but one is higher than the other.  William Wildblood has written much about this topic, and has a good recent post on the intuition.  

    And these are not mutually exclusive; it is possible and good to use all three.  

Logic, intuition, and Motivation

    In an intellectual argument there are three factors to consider: logic, intuition, and motivation.  The logic is the actual reasoning employed in the argument itself.  The intuition is the deeper understanding of the principles involved in the argument, beyond the flow of the logic itself and the motivation is the reason for making the argument in the first place.  

    For example, in Bruce Charlton's article Reconceptualizing the metaphysical basis of biology, he writes: 

    "If Natural Selection is regarded as the bottom-line explanation - the fundamental metaphysical reality (as it is for biology, and often is with respect to the human condition) then this has radically nihilistic consequences.  And this is a paradox - if natural selection was the only mechanism by which consciousness and intelligene arose then we could have no confidenec that the human discovery of natural selection was anything more than a (currently, but contingently) fitness-enhancing delusion.

    ... 

    In sum - Without teleology, there can be no possibility of knowledge. 

    (This is not some kind of a clever paradox - it is an unavoidable rational conclusion.)"

    In this argument, the logic is the first paragraph, pointing out that if we believe natural selection is the rock-bottom reality of the human mind, then we have no guarantee that our reasoning is accurate, only that it has been useful for survival and reproduction.  But then, the theory of natural selection itself, which was developed by the human mind, is also a product of natural selection.  Hence, we have no guarantee that the theory of natural selection is true.  

    As Charlton points out, this reasoning can seem to be just a clever trick, rather than a serious argument.  Partly this is the self-referential nature of the argument, but the other reason is that this paradox, taken by itself, leads us to a certain conclusion, but says no more about it once we arrive.  So, we now move to the intition.  

    The intuition is that the theory of natural selection only refers to traits which aid survival and reproduction, it says nothing about ensuring that beliefs are true.  It may be that true beliefs also aid in survival and reproduction or it may be that some false beliefs are better, but to make these kinds of considerations, we have to go outside of the theory of natural selection.  And in a broader sense, the intuition behind other paradoxes is similar.  By showing that a theory cannot account for itself, it is shown to be incomplete; it may be valid within a certain domain, but it is not a complete description outside of it.  

    As for the motivation, there are different motivations one could have.  One possibility is that the argument is one prong of a strategy to discredit natural selection altogether.  Another is to better understand natural selection by understanding its limitations.  A third is to show that naturalism, the belief that physical nature is all that exists, is false.  

    C.S. Lewis used this argument for the third motivation in his book Miracles.  Victor Reppert writes more about this in his book C.S. Lewis's Dangerous idea.  Interestingly enough, on his blog, Reppert quotes Charles Darwin himself, who wrote in a letter: 

    "the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.  Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?"

    I find this framework helpful in understanding not just intellectual arguments, but writing and indeed communication of all kinds.    

    The three each have their own benefits and drawbacks.  

    For instance, analyzing writing from a logical perspective allows one to temporarily ignore the motivations and just focus on the arguments themselves.  The difficulty is that the logic itself may not be spelled out or may take certain assumptions for granted, or may be satisfactory, but leave out the bigger picture.  Motivations are in a sense the quickest.  If one can determine that a communication is sent out with bad motivation, like mass media for example, then it can be ignored with no further thought.  But the difficulty is that for less obvious examples, the specific motivation may take some time to infer and since people think differently, motivations may be unusual.  

    For example, there are people who are atheists because they believe the evidence in favor of the existence of God is uncertain, but choose the possibility that they least favor.  They want to put forward the most powerful argument they can, so they can be proven wrong.  This usually goes along with a fairly pessimistic personality.  In fact, I think that Thomas the Apostle was this kind of person.  He watned to believe that Jesus had been raised, but would rather be disappointed once than have his hopes raised and then destroyed.  In his case, the fault was giving into disappointment rather than accepting the testimony of his fellow Apostles whom he had reason to trust.  

    The point is that this is a rare motivation, but it is real and so could be misunderstood if people do not take the time to think over it.  And there are many other examples of motivations being misunderstood. 

    Intuition is the best in terms of understanding because when one has the intuition, one understands without needing to memorize the logic of an argument.  In fact, having the inuition makes the argument easier to remember.  But intutition can sometimes be difficult to commuicate.

    In thinking about writing or speaking persuasively, it also helps to consider these elements and how an audience responds to each of them.  Arguing against a belief according to its own logic or showing that it contradicts itself is in one sense the strongest possible refutation.  But in practice, one finds that although it works well at shoring up the beliefs of those who already disbelieve or leading to doubts for those who are netural, this method is often unsuccessful in persuading those who already believe.  

    One reason is that refuting any particular statement is viewed as merely a fluke.  Yes, that one is wrong, but what about everything else?  Another reason is that it doesn't get to the underlying assumptions and understanding behind the belief.  

    By talking about the intuition, one can address these issues.  Bruce Charlton does this well in his posts on climate change.  When I first read some of these posts, I didn't "get it" right away.  But what Charlton is doing is, rather than addressing any particular study at a methodological level, addressing the assumptions underlying the whole climate change framework.  These assumptions are that we can not only predict what the climate is going to do, but control it, to an extraordinary degree of pecision.  And once one thinks about it, it becomes apparent that we can't do this.  

    If intuition doesn't work, then one has to consider the moviations of one's audience and address those motivations.  But there is no general method for this. 

Randomness isn't a valid explanation for modern life

     One often sees attempts to explain the modern world by undirected processes, such as randomness,  the wisdom of the crowds, etc.  Events and trends are not explained in terms of the aims of human beings, but rather in terms of many small incidents that add up or interact in some way.  Or inevitable structure that results from randomness.  Of course, just like polls and surveys all these explanations are meant to fool people and prevent them from noticing what is really going on.  

    That is not to say that these kinds of explanations have no validity whatsoever.  They do and they can be very useful within the proper domain.  But in practice what happens is that non-purposive explanations are used to explain everything, even what is actually caused by planning and purpose.  

    One example is with lotteries.  Some people win the lottery twice.  It's a rare event, but less rare than one might think at first.  The reason is that the chance of any specific person winning the lottery twice is astronomical, but if we consider all the lottery winners who still buy tickets, the chance of any one of them winning is greater, in particular when people buy multiple tickets.  

    One name for this kind of phenomenon is the Law of truly large numbers.  The encyclopedia article states in the intro:

    "The law of truly large numbers, attributed to Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller, states that with a sample size large enough, any outrageous thing is likely to happen.  Because we never find it notable when likely events occur, we highlight unlikely events and notice them more.  The law seeks to debunk one element of supposed supernatural phenomenology.

    Notice that the introduction starts with a somewhat valid point, but then immediately jumps to an unjustified conclusion about supernatural events.  Forget the supernatural: lotteries aren't even a good analogy for unusual events in normal human life.   

    All possible outcomes of a lottery are proscribed in advance.  Even though the number of possible tickets is enormous, it is known ahead of time what outcomes can occur.  Furthermore, drawings occur regularly and there is no limit on the number of tickets that can be sold.  Furthermore, we can calculate precisely or at least get a good estimate of the possible outcomes.  

    This is far from ordinary life, where the unusual is often unexpected and where we have no good estimate, much less a precise calculation of the probability of any event.  Furthermore, we don't know how frequently an attempt to make an unusual event occur will happen (analogous to a lottery drawing).  

    Another example is the mathematical discipline of Ramsey theory, which studies under what circumstances certain structures inevitably occur.  The standard problem asks how what is the smallest group necessary to ensure that at least one of the following two situations must occur: 

   1. At least three members of the group know each other 

    2. At least three members of the group do not know each other

    The answer turns out to be six.  In a group of six or more people, at least one of those situations will occur, regarless of how many fellow group members each person is acquainted with.  

    In every popular article on the subject, it seems to be obligatory to add a sentence like: "Ramsey theory shows that true disorder is impossible."  The implication being that if you see something strange, it's just an inevitable structure that must have occurred.  The problem is that, as with the lottery, we are taking an extremely restricted situation and applying it where it no longer applies.  

    In the example about the group of six people, the only thing we considered was whether two members knew each other or not.  There are only two possibilities.  By contrast, in a group in the real world, there are many more relationships and interactions that can take place.  So, while it is true that provided we do not have some undifferentiated mass, there will be inevitable structures, we have no way of knowing what they are or how to find them.  

    Taking these kinds of explanations too seriously is something of a clever silly behavior.  The best explanation for human behavior is the common sense explanation, that people do things because they want to.  

    But, explaining human life in terms of undirected processes has been very effective in preventing people from attempting to find the true explanations of what occurs.  The scientific or mathematical nature of the explanations dazzles some people, allows some to feel superior by believing an unintuitive explanation.  And for the scientists or mathematicians themselves, constantly refining a model that only works in special circumstances provides a powerful distraction.  In particular when the people who choose which explanations to promote and popularize do not care about the explanations themselves.  All they care about is using them to manipulate people.  

    In addition to the arguments above, there is another common sense reason not to put too much stock in undirected explanations: randomness and coordination don't look the same.  When the same thing happens in a sufficiently widespread area, or the same events happen time after time after time, then there is no reason to believe they are random.  Furthermore, when events are uncoordinated, even when they are largely similar, there are always small, though still significant differences.  

    Even when there is both coordination and independence, as frequently happens, there is a difference between an organic situation and when someone puts their thumb on the scales.  One way this happens is by setting up a situation where people can choose anything, but only within a predetermined range of choices.  Or when individuals are constantly steered in subtle ways to make certain choices or to avoid others.  And since this effect is often much more powerful than the individual choices, it is the most important factor to consider.

    And so, while non-purposive explanations are useful in certain situations, there is no reason to apply them to the world as a whole.

An idea about polygenic inheritance

    In Bruce Charlton's post, "How are highly intelligent people sometimes born to unintelligent parents (and ancestors)", he writes: 

    "This (assuming the phenomenon is real) seems hard to explain in the way that intelligence is normally considered - in terms of intelligence being a consequence of very large numbers (thousands?) of genes-for-intelligence.  With intelligence genes conceptualized as additive in effect, and in such large numberes, it is hard to understand how a very highly intelligent child could emerge by change from low intelligence parents.

But if a person's level of intelligence is also determined by the number of deleterious mutations they inherit from their parents, and these mutations are numbered in tens - then it is imaginable that, by chance, a child may be born with a very few deletrious mutations, despite his parents having a relatively heavy mutation load. 

This notion is perhaps testable, on the basis that a low mutation load should be associated with generally higher fitness - so the high intelligence child of low intelligence parents would be expected to be (on average) taller, healthier, more symmetrical, more long-lived than his low intelligence parents."

    This seems plausible.  

    Intelligence, height, and skin color are standard examples of polygenetic traits, where instead of a single gene, many genes each with a small effect contribute to the expression of the trait.  If an individual has more genes that contribute, then the expression of their trait will greater.  If the genes are inherited independently from one another, then their expression in the population follows a Bell Curve.  

    Related to this, I wonder if there is another way that two moderately intelligent parents may have an intelligent child or two moderately tall parents may have a tall child.  Suppose that they are both intelligent or tall "in two differents ways".  Here is a simple model of this: 

    Suppose that we have four genes that affect intelligence each with two alleles, one that has no effect, represented by a lowercase letter, and one that increases intelligence, represented by an uppercase letter.  

    Now, consider two people with equal intelligence but in different ways:

I: AA BB cc dd 

II: aa bb CC DD

    Now, person I and person II had a child (Person III), that child would inherit one allele of each gene from the parent, so that child's genotype would be as follows: 

III: Aa Bb Cc Dd

    The child would have equal intelligence to the parents since all three people have four intelligence-increassing alleles.  However, if Person III had a child with someone else either with a similar genotype to themselves or similar to either of their parents, they would have a chance of having a more intelligent child than themself.  

Consider person IV: AA BB cc dd

Then, there is a chance III and IV could have a child with the following genotype: 

    V: AA BB Cc Dd

    With six intelligence-increasing alleles, V would be more intellient than V's parents or grandparents.

   Or, if III had a child with someone with a similar genotype to themself: 

VI: Aa Bb Cd Dd

Then there is a chance they could have as a child: 

VII: AA BB CC DD

who with 8 intelligence-increasing alleles is significantly more intelligent than VII's parents or grandparents.  On the other hand, they could also have a child 

VIII: aa bb cc dd 

who is less intelligent than either VIII's parents or grandparents.

  Thus, according to this model is correct, after two people who are intelligent in two different ways have a child, there is a possibility for their grandchild to be more intelligent than either the parents or grandparents.  

    It is possible that different populations might have evolved different sets of genes that which code for intelligence.  The genes not used by a population might have alleles which, unlike deleterious mutations, don't decrease intelligene, they just have no effect.  For example, some inhabitants of the Solomon islands have blond hair, but the genes that code for this trait are different than the ones that cause blond hair in Euoropeans.  So, both traits express a similar phenotype, but with different underlying genes.  

    It is also not necessary for there to be no overlap at all amongst such genes.  For instance, consider the following individuals: 

1: AA BB CC DD ee ff

II: aa bb CC DD EE FF

    I and II both have intelligence increasing alleles on the "c" and "d" genes, but they don't overlap on the "a", "b", "e", and "f" genes.  In this case, we would also see a situation in the second generation where a child more intelligent than the parents or grandparents to be born.    

Christianity and Cohesion

    Bruce Charlton's post "It seems that all actual religions are honest about what they themselves offer (but wrong about other religions)" makes a fascinating and important observation: 

    "I find it very striking - although I don't know of anybody else who does - that actually existing religions seem to be honest about what they offer their adherents."

    I understand "actually existing religions" to mean religions that aren't just made up (like Scientology), but are based on some insight into the nature of reality.  (And this includes philosophies like Stoicism or Platonism).   

    I would go farther and say that not only in what they promise, but in a broader sense, religions are constrained by their underlying nature.  They cannot change open-endedly and retain spiritual power and if their adherents try to change them in a way that is incompatible with their underling nature, things will go wrong and the change will cease to be viable (though maybe not all at once).  The exact details will be different depending on the religion and on the change. 

    In this post I want to think through this in relation to Christianity and cohesion.  My motivation comes from thinking about the fact that there are many different denominations of Christianity and wondering if they ever will become one again and if not, can they find cohesion in some other way? 

    At this point, I do not think there ever will be a single denomination of Christianity again.  Human beings are fallen, different from each other, and also the split between the denominations has gone on for so long and is involved with many other doctrinal, cultural, and historical issues.    

    But is this purely a result of human weakness or is it somehow part of the nature of Christianity?  After thinking it over, I do believe that differences (though not acrimonious divisions) among Christians would always have occurred since freedom and individuality are inherently part of Christianity.  

    To begin with, consider the 11 Apostles after the Ascension of Jesus.  Early on, we see that Peter was their leader.  He spoke at Pentecost and is shown taking a leadership role in other parts of the Acts of the apostles.  But from the descriptions given in the book of Acts, it appears that Peter's role was more that of "first among equals" rather than the ruler of the other Apostles.  Christians reading about these events after they took place are familiar with this fact.  However, one might have guessed that Jesus would have chosen one successor to be the unquestioned authority over all other Christians, just as Soloman was the king after David.  

    In addition, at some point, the Apostles went their separate ways, preaching in different places.  It does not appear to be the case that they were commanded by another human being to go to any particular place; they went where they believed they should.  Paul says in the letter to the Galatians (1:15-24): 

    "But when it pleased him, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, immediately I condescended not to flesh and blood.  Neither went I to Jerusalem, to the apostles who were before me: but I went into Arabia, and again I returned to Damascus.

    Then, after three years, I went to Jerusalem, to see Peter, and I tarried with him fifteen days.  But other of the apostles I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord.  Now the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I lie not.  Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.  And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea, which were in Christ: but they had heard only: he, who persecuted us in times past, doth now preach the faith which once he impugned: and they glorified God in me."

    In other words, Paul viewed his mission as in parallel with the other apostles; it was complementary to their ministry, but was not ruled over by them.  If Christianty from the beginning was meant to be a religion fundamentally based on submission to external authority, Paul could never have written these sentences.  

    Also, what about the Ethiopian eunuch described in Acts 8:26-40?  Philip meets the eunuch returning to Ethiopia and baptizes him, but after returning, the eunuch may have had no contact with any other Christians for a long period of time.  Surely Philip knew that the eunuch would tell others of what he learned, but there is no mention in this passage about Philip forbidding the eunuch to teach anyone else about Christianity or telling him to submit to the authority of the apostles.  

    Also, the character of the teaching of Jesus was not based purely on submission to authority.  Jesus taught both the Apostles and ordinary people in such a way that they would be able to understand and internalize the teachings for themselves.  One the other hand, those among the Pharisees whom Jesus criticized probably did not teach the common people in this way.  Their goal was order (as they envisioned it).  

    Yet, despite the lack of a single centralized authority which demanded submission, there was indeed cohesion among the Christians after the Ascension of Jesus.  It was a variety of individuals all working towards a single goal.  Therefore, cohesion among Christians can come about by some other means than unity under external authority and indeed did come about in just such a way at the very beginning.

    Side Note: About a year ago, I had another idea related to this, which was that three of the biggest denominations among Christians were there from the beginning.  We can associate Peter with the Roman Catholic church, based on the tradition that he was first bishop of Rome, Paul with the Protestants as he preached based on his own knowledge of the scriptures, and John with the Eastern Orthodox as he was traditionally bishop of Ephesus, the captial of the Roman province of Asia and was also more mystical than the other two.  

    Interestingly enough, in his story "A short tale of the Anti-Christ", Vladimir Soloviev includes Peter II as the representative of the Roman Catholics, the Elder John the representative of the Eastern Orthodox, and Professor Pauli as the representative of the  Protestant churches.  If two people have had this idea, then probably many more have as well, so there is certainly more thinking to be done along these lines.

Leftism is not the state of nature

    A common rhetorical trick among leftists is to draw an equivalence between rejecting leftism and authoritarian governments.  They take an authoritarian government from the past or present which rejected leftism or existed before leftism and say that to go against leftism is to favor that government.  Bonald has an excellent post on this subject: "Rejecting the Enlightenment is only the beginning of thought" in which he writes: 

    "It is no doubt a great thing to free oneself from the cloud of humbug into which we are all born.  However, clearing one's vision is only the start of seeing; next we must actually look around.  One way that the Enlightenment controls the minds of billions, locking them into a degrading and absurd mental slavery, is by making people imagine that they know what's on the other side. 'Without the social contract ... tryanny!  Without separate of Church and state ... religious warfare!  Without feminism ... rape!  Without capitalism ... communism!  Without cosmopolitanism ... Nazis!  So love your chains, and repeat the slogans like a good boy.' "

    The refutation comes in next two paragraphs of the post:

    "However, those blinded by the Enlightenment have no idea what is on the other side.  How could they, with such a narrow, unimaginative, and parochial worldview?  In fact, the world of alternatives is vast, so vast that anyone beginning to step outside Enlightenment strictures should be warned that the greatest intellectual challenge is still ahead. 

    The key to rejecting liberalism (the political expression of the Enlightenment project) is to realize that it's all a swindle.  It claims to stand above every particular conception of the Good, granting freedom to all and favoritism to none, when in fact it imposes its own narrow vision on all of us.  Its claims to neutrality just mean that it gets to impose itself without every being forced to argue (or even assert) that its claims are objectively true, and that it never has to assume the responsibility that comes from being a recognized establishment."

    Related to Bonald's point, there is a similar assumption made by both leftists and even many non-leftists, which is that leftism is the "state of nature."  In other words, it is believed that leftism is just what happens when people are allowed freedom to choose what they wish.  Hence, any non-leftist society in history could only have come about by a forcible imposition from a government.  Therefore, any such society that has existed or could exist is illegitimate because it is a forced disruption of the state of nature.  

    But of course, this is completely false.  The sexual revolution provides a good example, because besides the fact that it is one of the linchpins of leftism, this assumption is particularly widespread in that case.  Even non-leftists who deplore the actual consequences of the sexual revolution still believe that it is natural.  

    But the problem is, the sexual revolution is about as far from the state of nature as you can get.  It is currently sustained by the most pervasive propaganda system ever devised.  Indeed, most people throughout their lives have been subjected to hundreds of hours of propaganda for the sexual revolution in ways both overt and covert through practically all mass media, social media, and official discourse.  And in addition to the propaganda, the sexual revolution is facilitated by efficient transportation, safety (from a world historical perspective), mass living conditions made possible by modern sanitation, and  modern communications technologies, not to mention contraceptives.  In particular, modern transportation is often overlooked, but without it the sexual revolution in its current form would be almost impossible.  

    This is not to say that sanitation, peace, and transportation are bad because they are not.  But thinking through all the technologies needed in order for the sexual revolution as it currently is to exist reveals the falseness of the leftist claims that it is natural.  Not only that, one can look at the contradictory nature of leftists' own statements.  On the one hand, the SR is supposedly natural, but on the other hand we are told that it needs a vast apparatus to manage it safely.  And this even goes back to the beginning, with all the talk of "repression."  If people are repressed and this is truly unnatural, why need to argue against it?  On the other hand, if it's universal and needs to be confronted, doesn't that mean the supposed repression is natural?

    Similar considerations can be applied to other aspects of leftism.  

    As far as the belief that historical societies could only exist because they were forcibly imposed on their people, this is also completely false.  People really did think completely differently.

    For one thing, even though may governments of the past were authoritarians, their ability to control people at the micro level was far less than today.  To begin with, any propaganda before the mass communications of the 20th century was far more inefficient.  It was necessary to have people actually go out and tell people what they were supposed to hear and then repeat as necessary.  Furthermore, to compel the population to do something required physically forcing people.  This requires people to go about and do the forcing.  Of course it is true that the harsh punishments of many such societies were a powerful deterrent, but they also could not control people's behavior at the micro-level, they simply did not have the manpower.  

    Furthermore, if a change in society truly is imposed only by the government, once that government goes away, the change will go away as well.  For instance, had Henry VIII been the only person who wanted to break away from the Catholic Church, once he died, England would have happily reverted to Catholicism.  Since that did not happen, we can assume there were many others who wanted to break away.  In other words, changes that are purely forced do not look the same as changes that are not.  

    Another example, borrowed from Bruce Charlton is Ancient Egypt.  As he has pointed out, this is pretty much the most conservative and stable society ever, existing for about 3,000 years.  Egypt certainly was authoritarian, with the pharaoh being regarded as a god and having immense power, but had the society as a whole been imposed on the populace purely through force, there is no way that it would have lasted so long with such stability.  

     

Chess, Chaos, and Creation

    An occasional subject for debate among chess players is whether great players of the past, if they were to come back today would be able to hold their own against or even beat the great players of today.  The reason the question is interesting is because knowledge about chess has increased over the hundreds of years the game has been around, in particular from the late 1800s to the present day.  Therefore, the greatest players of the past, if they were to play top modern players without learning the new developments, would probably have little success.


    On the other hand, because of their aptitude for the game, they might be able to learn the new developments quickly or even introduce new ideas.  But there is more to the debate.  By its very nature, chess is a game with fixed rules and a finite (though enormous) number of possibilities.  This means that over time as more is learned, new ideas become more difficult to find because they build on old ideas.  The simple concepts have already been learned, so the new ideas will be more complex.

    Furthermore, even though the number of possibilities is enormous, some moves just are better than others, so a skilled player can beat someone who makes a mistake (or even a less than optimal move) if he knows how to take advantage of it.  So, after a period of time, there is less opportunity for creativity.  

    So, as a thought experiment, I wondered, what about a different kind of game?  A game with an unbounded number of possibilities where at every move creativity is possible.  The opposite of tic-tac-toe, so to speak.  Imagine a game with an infinite number of playing cards, where each player plays a card in sequence and each card influences others in the sequence.  In such a game anything could happen.  

    In this type of game, it would be quite disruptive to play with a player of genius who was reinventing the game at every move.  Without being a genius oneself, you couldn't keep up.  In a game like this, even preparation would be difficult.  One could learn from past games but the victory would go to the more creative and intelligent almost every time.  A game like this would be analogous to the mythological stories where human beings must share the world with gods who can reshape reality at a whim, for instance, changing themselves and human beings into animals.  

    I would call this active chaos.  It is "too much" creativity in the sense that those who are most creative dominate entirely and the rest can't find a footing.  This would be in contrast to passive chaos.  Imagine a chessboard and pieces, but no rules.  In that case, nothing can happen because there are no rules to get anything started.  

    I find this helpful to think about our situation on Earth.  Passive chaos would be the chaos before creation.  Just like a set of pieces with no rules, there are endless possibilities.  Any set of rules can be imposed, but before they are, nothing can happen.  On the other hand, total open-ended creation does not allow for the less creative (in the sense of power to create as well as creativity in thinking) to learn.  They are powerless before those who can sweep away everything that has gone before.  
    
    The best situation is some rules that allow for creativity, but not too much so there can be both learning and invention.  Both active and passive chaos need to be kept under control.  And this is the situation that we do see on Earth.

Change in Society and Change in Consciousness

    What does it mean to say that society has changed because consciousness has evolved?  It means that societal changes have come about because of an internal change, a change in how human beings think, feel, and understand.  

    Most discussions about changes in society refer to external forces such as changes in laws, technology, forms of government, etc.  But although changes in consciousness are more subtle, they are also influential in societal change.  A good example where we have to consider both internal and external changes is the case of monarchy.  Monarchy has been eliminated from most countries in the modern West and in many of those where it still exists, it is drastically weakened.  This has come about from changes in the structure of government, but we also have to consider changes in consciousness.  

    The Mad Monarchist blog writes in the section "Legitimacy": 

    "First and foremost, it is the official position here at The Mad Monarchist that the legitimacy of the remaining monarchs of the world is not to be called into question.  Monarchies, in this day and age, are an endangered species and monarchies must remain ever vigilant to preserve those which remain.  If any were to fall they would most certainly not be replaced by another dynasty or alternative member of the Royal Familly but whould be replaced by a republic.  That cannot be allowed to happen.  Now is not the time to argue over centuries-old conflicts or obscure genealogical charts. 

...

The Duke of Bavaria, for example, has no wish or desire to replace HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom even if it were possible for him to do so.  

In most cases, so much time has passed that the basis of these arguments have absolutely no meaning in the modern world.  In other words, for their arguments to even be considered, the entire mindset and way of thinking of society as a whole would have to change.  Being a reactionary sort, the Mad Monarchist believes this would be much for the better, but it is certainly not about to happen and would not be magically brought about by changing the person on the throne in London or Madrid.  In most cases there would have to be the most fundamental and far-reaching religious revival in human history for these issues to even be considered by the public of today."

    The last paragraph is crucial.  It is not just a matter of changing laws or changing rulers, but changing people's "entire mindset and way of thinking", i.e., consciousness.  Even if a monarch were able to be installed by some means they would be either a powerless figurehead or a dictator with a crown.  

    The Mad Monarchist another post, "A Monarchist Hero for Today" which provides an example of what the consciousness of people was like in the days of monarchy: 

    "Picture in your mind (I doubt it will require much imagination) this scenario which I certainly see.  You have a European country, a monarchy, which seems to be as often as not taking the side of the invaders, your monarch does not seem to be much of a monarch, inspires no one and seems more intent on simply securing a comfortable life than saving the country.  The populace is divided and many people seem to simply be looking out for their own selfish interests and not for their society, their nation, as a whole.  If you see things that I see, you might think I am talking about any number of countries today.  The Kingdom of Sweden might be a good guess.  However, I have no doubt that some of you already know that I am actually describing the Kingdom of France in or about 1429 AD.  It certainly seems highly reminiscent of the present in a number of ways, though just as certainly radically dissimiliar in more.

    France was in a state of crisis and a great and ardently monarchist, pious champion stepped forward to save it.  That person was, of course, an illiterate, teenage peasant girl from Domremy in northeastern France.  

...

    All of this is clearly impressive but why does it make Joan a model hero for monarchists today?  It seems to me, there are a number of reasons.  For one, Joan revived the French national spirit, giving them back their proper sense of themselves as French, identifying with their nation and not simply their village, town or provine which might just as easily belong to the English king as the French king or the Duke of Burgundy.  She made the French proud to be French again, made them believe in their identity and purpose.  This is something, it seems to me, everyone needs more of today in practically every country.  That goes for traaditionalists, conservatives and right-wingers just as much as those of the liberal, leftist or revolutionary varieties.  The left hates their countries for what they were, which is fine as they wish to destroy them anyway.  However, the right tends to hate their countries for what they are and this is deliberate for you will hardly have much zeal to fight for the salvation of your country if you do not love it.  Joan lived in what was possibly the darkest period in the history of France, she could have easily been discourged, but she fought for the France that could be, that should be and looked beyond the divided, dispirited country that was.  

Also, very much like today, Joan had to confront traditional institutions that were less than ideal.  However, she had a quality that made her immune to the damage this could cause.  Joan of Arc possessed a type of loyalty that seems exceedingly rare in this day and age, even among many who call themselves monarchists or royalists.  

...

She never faltered in her own loyalty, she fought the battles that made it possible for the king to do what he needed to do and she urged him toward the proper course of action but her loyalty did not depend on the King acting as she saw fit or of him reciprocating her commitment. "   

    Another example comes from Andrew Lang's writes in his book The Story of Joan of Arc

    "The Dauphin had no money to pay his troops, but men-at-arms came in, hundreds of them, saying that they would fight for the love of the Maid and of chivalry.  Not doubt they would have been very glad to crown her, in place of the stupid Dauphin, but the French law did not allow it; and Joan wanted nothing for herself, only to make France free, and go back to her mother, as she said."

    In other words, people in those days really believed in idea of legitimacy through descent; the idea that she could have started a revolution and become a queen would have been unthinkable to Joan of Arc.  Furthermore, the underlying motivation of the citizens of monarchies was strong enough that willingly risked their lives for their king.   

    All of this has changed drastically in the present time.  But, examining this change this through the perspective of the evolution of consciousness helps us to understand it better.  Things have changed not just because of revolutions or propaganda, but because people's underlying way of thinking has evolved.  A modern person cannot make themself think like someone from the 1400s.  

    This change in consciousness does not mean that monarchy can never come again, just that the old form of monarchy is no longer possible.  It may well be that if the world survives, then some new type of monarchy based on a different form of consciousness will arise.  In fact, something like this has already happened.  The form of government of the early United States, though inspired by the Roman Republic and Athenian democracy, was not an exact continuation of either of them but a new thing because (in addition to the geographic differences and other external circumstances) the consciousness of an 18th century American was very different from that of either an ancient Roman or Athenian.

    Monarchy is one example, but there are many others which show that we should take into account the development in consciousness as well as external factors when trying to understand changes in society.  

Three lost christian writings

    Three lost Christian writings which would be interesting to read are the books of Hegesippus and Papias, as well the Acts of Pilate.  The Acts of Pilate was an account that Pilate wrote of the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus and sent to the emperor Tiberius.  There is an apocryphal document with that title, but there is evidence that a real Acts of Pilate existed.  One example is that the early Christin Philosopher Justin Martyr writes refers to them his First Apology

    "How it was prophesied that our Christ would heal all diseases and raise the dead, hear what was spoken, as follows: 'At his coming the lame will leap like a hart, and the stammering tongue will be clear; blind will see and lepers be cleansed, and the dead will arise and walk.'  That he did these things, you can learn from the Acts of what took place under Pontius Pilate."

    No doubt Pilate's view of the miracles of Jesus was different than that of the Christians.  However, although some Romans were skeptical of the existence of the supernatural, many, even those who disbelieved in Christianity had no difficulty in accepting the miraculous healings of Jesus.  Indeed, pagan writer Eunapius writes of the philosopher Porphyry (who wrote a book against Christianity which only survives in quotation from other authors because all copies were burned): 

    "And he says too that he cast out and expelled some sort of daemon from a certain bath; the inhabitants called this daemon Kusatha."

    In other words, many Romans admitted the possibility of, and actually believed in, miraculous healings and other supernatural events, but their understanding of their significance was different than that of the Christians.  

    More evidence for the existence of the Acts of Pilate comes from Eusebius in his History of the Church: 

    "Our Saviour's marvellous resurrection and ascension into heaven were by now everywhere famous, and it had long been customary for provincial governors to report to the holder of the imperial office any change in the local situation, so that he might be aware of all that was going on.  The story of the resurrection from the dead of our Saviour Jesus, already the subject of general discussion all over Palestine, was accordingly communicated  by Pilate to the emperor Tiberius.  For Pilate knew all about Christ's supernatural deeds, and especially how after death He had risen from the dead nd was now generally believed to be a god.  

    It is said that Tiberius referred the report to the senate, which rejected it.  The apparent reason was that they had not gone into the matter before, for the old law still held good that no one could be regarded by the Romans as a god unless by vote and decree of the senate; the real reason was that no human decision or commendation was required for the saving teaching of the divine messge.  In this way the Roman council rejected the report sent to it about our Saviour, but Tiberius made no change in his attitude and formed no evil designs against the teachings of Christ."

    As with Justin Martyr's reference, it is not likely that Pilate believed in the resurrection of Jesus; he probably viewed people's discussion of the resurrection as the emergence of a new religious sect.  Nonetheless, this document would be worth reading because it would give us a description of Jesus and the emergence of Christianity from a Roman perspective.  

    Hegesippus's writings have been lost, but he lived in the 100s AD and wrote five books that described events that happened in the early Church, many after the Acts of the Apostles.  For example, Eusebius quotes Hegesippus's description of the martyrdom of James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, who was killed by the Scribes and Pharisees.  This James was not James the Apostle, but a relative of Jesus who was a Nazirite (like Samson) and was widely respected because of his upright manner of living.

    Papias wrote five books called The Sayings of the Lord Explained.  Eusebius writes: 

    "Pre-eminent at that time in Asia was a companion of the Apostles, Polycarp, on whom the eyewitnesses and ministers of the Lord had conferred the episcopate of the church at Smyrna.  Famous contemporaries of his were Papias, bishop of the see of Hierapolis, and one who to this day is universally remembered - Ignatius, the second to be appointed to the bishopric of Antioch in succession to Peter."

    Papias did not know the Apostles personally, but he spoke with those who had known them.  Eusebius quotes Papias as writing: 

    "And whenever anyone came who had been a follower of the presbyters, I inquired into the words of the Presbyters, what Andrew or Peter had said, or Phillip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew, or any other disciple of the Lord, and what Aristion and the presbyter John, disciples of the Lord, were still saying.  For I did not imagine that things out of books would help me as much as the utterances of a living and abiding voice."

    Since Papias spoke with people for whom the age of the Apostles was still a living memory, his books would have much of historical interest.  

    Unfortunately, all of these books are long gone.  But then again, it is not unprecedented that long-lost Christian writings be recovered.  The Infogalactic page on Hegesippus says: 

    "Zahn has shown that the work of Hegesippus may still have been extant in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in three Eastern libraries, saying: 'We must lament the loss of other portions of the Memoirs which were known to exist in the seventeenth century.' "

    Furthermore, the Didache, an early document of Christian teaching, which had been referred to by other writings, but lost was rediscovered.  The Penguin Classics Early Christian Writings gives the following account: 

    "Towards the end of 1883, Philotheos Bryennios, then Metropolitan of Nicomedia, astonished the world by publishing a text of The Didache which he had discovered ten years earlier in a small eleventh-century codex of 120 pages in the library in Constantinople belonging to the Patriarch of Jerusalem (it has since been transferred to Jerusalem) - a manuscript we have already encountered as it contains the only complete Greek texts we know of the epistles of Clement and Barnabas.

    Another example of a lost and found again text is the Epistle to Diognetus.  The introduction to Early Christian Writings says: 

    "In about 1435 in Constantinople, where he had gone to study Greek, a young Italian student, Thomas of Arezzo, discovered amonst a pile of packing paper in a fish market a rather tattered volume of ecclesiastical writings in Greek.  The first five treatises in this manuscript volume were spurious works acribed to Justin Martyr, i.e., the second century apologist the fifth of them headed 'By the same [i.e. Justin], to Diognetus.  ... It was a work previously unknown - neither Eusebius nor any of the Fathers refers to it - and this sole manuscript was the basis of many editions, from that of H. Estienne in 1592 onwards, until the manuscript was destroyed in the flames of Strasbourg in 1870, a victim of the Franco-Prussian War.

... 

it is the sole - though fleeting - evidence of a work that has fascinated since its discovery.  It is written in Greek of a conscious elegance rare among early Christian writings, even though at times, because of illegibility, it becomes barely comprehensible."  

Lessons from the Roman martyrs

    One of the greatest problems in the modern world is the absence of virtue.  This is more subtle than the obvious abundance of vice.  One reason is because it is an absence rather than a presence.  It is apparent if something happens that should not, but what if something that should happen does not?  That is much more difficult to perceive, in particular if we do not know what we should be looking for.  What tends to happen is that people have a general sense that something is not as it should be; but do not know what.  

    Two of the largest are the lack of courage and the lack of loyalty.  The story of early Christian martyrs provides an example of a time when both of these virtues were far stronger than they are now.  The courage of the martyrs is proverbial, but their story also shows the virtues of the Romans.  Although individual Roman emperors were depraved and wicked, many of the individual Romans were far superior to most moderns in honesty and courage.  For instance, when the Christians were asked to burn a pinch of incense to Caesar and be released or refuse and die, the Romans weren't lying.  They really did release those Christians who apostasized.  Compare this to the dishonest show trials of the twentieth and twenty-first century where those taken to trial are already marked for persecution and there is nothing they can do about it.  

    Despite their cruelty, the Romans were honest; they followed their own rules.  When Pontius Pilate released Barbbas, Barabbas really was released.  Paul was beheaded because he was a Roman citizen and Roman citizens could not be crucified.  The account of the martyrdom of Felicity and Perpetua states that Felicity was pregnant at the time of her condemnation, so she was not executed until she had given birth.  This is because the Romans considered it unjust to kill an unborn and innocent child along with the mother when the mother had been condemned to death.  

    By contrast, the dishonest anti-Christian governments of the 21st century do not follow their own rules.  Rules are applied selectively to Christians for the purpose of harming them.  Another contrast is that in many of the Christian perseuctions of the 20th century, the goal was either the elimination of groups that were Christian or the utter destruction of Christian belief along with demoralization of Chrisitans.  By contrast, genocide was not the goal of the Roman persecution.  Although pagan mobs sometimes did attack Christians indiscriminately at the time of the perecutions, the goal of the Roman officials was not to kill all Christians.  Their plan was to force the Christians into submission to the empire.  Indeed, the Romans were not concerned with the otherworldly beliefs of the Christians but only their refusal to honor the emperor as a god, which was seen as disloyalty to the state.

    Further, the Romans greatly respected courage.  Executions were public, so pagan Romans had seen many criminals killed.  But these criminals had no choice in the matter.  Once found guilty of a crime, they were executed and outside of escaping from prison, the were unable to stop it.  One the other hand, up untilthe point they were sentenced to death the Christians really could have walked away at any time by honoring the pagan gods and so they were choosing to undergo torture and death.  This must have been astounding to the Romans.  Among Roman soldiers in particular courage must have been greatly honored.  Eusebius in his History of the Church relates an account of a soldier who became converted in seeing a Christian undergo torment and death: 

    "Seventh among them must be reckoned Basilides who led the renowned Potamiaena to execution.  The praises of this woman are even today loudly sung by her own people. ...  She had hardly spoken when she heard sentence pronounced, and Basilides, a member of the armed forces, seized her arm and led her away to execution.  As the crowd tried to plauge her and insult her with obscene jess, Basilides thrust them back and drove them away, showing the utmost pity and kindness towards her.  Potamiaena accepted his sympathy for her and gave him encouragement: when she had gone away she would ask the Lord for him, and it would not be long before she repaid him for all he had done for her.  This said, she faced her end with noble courage - slowly, drop by drop, boiling pitch was poured over different parts of her body, from her toes to the crown of her head.  Such was the battle won by this splendid girl. 

    Not long afterwards Basilides was for some reason asked by his fellow-soldiers to take an oath, but he insisted that he was unable to swear in any circumstances as he was a Christian and made no secret of the fact.  At first they thought he was joking, but when he stuck doggedly to his assertion he was brought before the magistrate, who, as he made no attempt to hid his convictions, committed him to prison.  When his brothers in God visited hin and asked the reason for this amazing impulse and determination, he is said to have declared that three days after her martyrdom Potamiaena stodd before him in the night, put a wreath about his head, and said that she had prayed for him to the Lord, had obtained her request, and before long would place him by her side.  At this the brethren bestowed on him the seal of the Lord [baptism], and the next day, nobly witnessing for his Lord, he was beheaded.  The records sate that at this period many other citizens of Alexandria accepted the teaching of Christ in a body, as Potamiaena appeared to them in dreams and called them."  

    Other Roman soldiers who became died for their faith are the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, condemned to freeze to death.  In general, Romans were far more courageous than modern Westerners and soldiers even more so.  So it is no surprise that many soldiers became Christians.  

  In addition to their courage, the early Christians were extraordinarily tight-knit.  An egregious misunderstanding in the modern days is that it is somehow above tribalism to hate one's own family and one's own culture.  By contrast, the early Christians took the love and devotion of the family and extended it to the other members of their communities.  They moved above tribalism, while modern liberal Christianity falls below it.  In particular, there was no magic word beginning with "R" that caused early Christians to throw each other to the pagan mob.  

    The early Christians also helped each other in times of trouble.  If Christians in one city were suffering, Christians from other cities would bring food or money.  And in those days, this meant personally travelling across many miles with the possibility of encountering bandits.  Felicity and Perpetua both had young children and yet they knew that after they died their children would be cared for by the Christian community.  Indeed, a frequent exhortation used by Roman magistrates to convince Christian parents to apostasize was to consider their duty for family; who would take care of them if they died.  But the Christian parents were willing to die because they knew their children would be cared for.  But not only that, the martyrs were willing to accept the death of their entire family because they did not view it as the end; they had faith in life after death to an extent that is astounding.  

    This is shown by the feast day martyrs being the day they died; viewed as the day they were born to eternal life.  

    So, in general, people in Roman times were far more courageous and loyal than people now and Christians most of all.  Furthermore, loyaly and faith strengthen courage.  In these days, reading about the Roman martyrs is informative because it shows us the significance of these three virtues: loyalty, faith, and courage.

Sodom and Gomorrah

     JMSmith's recent post at the Orthosphere "The Luxurious Road to Lot's Door" discusses the danger of luxury in regards to the sinful city of Sodom:  

    "Idleness is luxuriant rest, and it has fell consequences, just like every other luxury.  This is because idleness permits the pursuit of pleasure, pleasures pale, and the pursuit of plesure is therefore an endless chase after new and increasingly piquant pleasures.  This is what St. Augustine meant when he said that the overgrown power and wealth of Rome caused the Romans to fall into the trap of luxury and chase an 'infinite variety of pleasures.' "

    The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is also interesting for other reasons.  In addition to striking details, such as Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt and Abraham watching smoke rise over the plain in the morning, it is one of the three big times in the Bible that overwhelming supernatural force is used against the wicked.  The other two are the tower of Babel and the Deluge.   

    These three punishments use archetypal forms of destruction: fire, water, and the breaking up of human society.  The people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the people before the Flood were proverbially evil.  Geneis 18:20 says: 

    "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great."  

    while Genesis 6:5 says about the people before the Flood: 

    "The the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was altogether evil all the time."  

    But even despite that, their ends were fairly merciful.  Being burned alive by fire and brimstone is not a pleasant way to die, but it is much better than what the Sodomites would have visited upon the people of any city that they had conquered.       

    One reason might have something to do with the statement expressed by the Neo-Pythagorean Iamblichus

    "As it is better for a part of the body that contains purulent decacy to be burned than to continue as it is, thus also is it better for a depraved man to die than to continue to live."

    In other words, once someone goes wrong enough, it is more merciful for their soul that they die than live because otherwise they would continue to get worse and worse.  Furthermore, the thought of imminent death may lead to repentance. 

    This also relates to what Francis Berger writes about in his post: "The Misguided Yearning for a Vengeful God Part I" which discusses Berdyaev's ideas about how Jesus offered salvation, but also a new dispensation for creative freedom.  It may be that after the death and resurrection of Jesus, it is better for sinners to live and repent and continue to learn than to die.  

     I find these questions worth thinking about, but these are deep waters, which involve knowledge of times long past, so an answer will probably always remain elusive.

The Influence of the Subliminal

      In C.S. Lewis's memoir Surprised by Joy , he writes:       " Then I read Chesterton's Everlasting Man and for the first t...