Second Interview with Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio

My interview with Miguel Connor of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, home of the virtual Alexandria (see recommended section). This is a doubleheader with Sean Stone, son of filmmaker Oliver Stone, well known for such classic films as JFK and Born on The Fourth of July. We discuss Sean’s latest documentary, Best Kept Secret, a powerful expose, speaking truth to power. I have included a link to the documentary in the Media Section.

The interview continues, examining those forces which control our “reality”.

Video used with permission from Miguel Connor.

(c) Adrian Charles Smith 2022

The Stoic Prayer of Emperor Marcus Aurelius

When faced with adversity, the Stoics prayed for the inner strength to remain unmoved and unbothered by the world outside.  You have power over your own mind but not the ever-changing fortunes of life. According to Stoic philosophy, whatever happens can be attributed to the god, and it would be unwise to insist on something contrary to the Divine will.

There is a legend that Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, prayed for rain to save a legion trapped and dying of thirst. The heavens opened and the soldiers caught the rain in their helmets and were saved. This is known as “The Rain Miracle” of Marcus Aurelius.

Elsewhere in The Meditations though, he wrote something more subtle and philosophical about prayer. Just because something is within our own power, rather than the realm of the gods, does not mean that we cannot pray for strength of purpose to neither crave the rain nor fear the drought.

If they (the gods) have power, why do you not pray to them to grant you the ability neither to fear any of these things nor to desire them, nor to be distressed by them, rather than praying that some of them should fall to you and others not? For surely, if the gods have any power to help human beings, they can help them in this. But perhaps you will object, ‘They have placed this in my own power.’ Well then, would it not be better to make use of what lies within your power as suits a free man rather than to strain for what lies beyond it in a slavish and abject fashion? In any case, who told you that the gods do not assist us even in things that lie within our power? Begin at least to pray so, and you will see.

He goes on, in the same passage, to give an example:

That man prays, ‘May I come to sleep with that woman,’ but you, ‘May I not desire to sleep with her.’ Another prays, ‘May I be rid of this man,’ but you, ‘May I no longer wish to be rid of him.’ Or another, ‘May I not lose my little child,’ but you, ‘May I not be afraid of losing him.’ In a word, turn your prayers round in such a way, and see what comes of it. 

When tormented by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune we become slaves to events beyond our control, not free individuals choosing how we will react. According to Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, the one thing which can never be taken away from you when all else is gone, is the power to choose your own state of mind.

We might pray, God send me a new motorcycle or, instead, God help me to be less materialistic; or yet again, Send me a new motorcycle if it is the best thing for me at this time (and not just a shiny object to distract).  

 A friend once told me that her divorce was the worst thing that had ever happened to her. A few months later she thought it was the best thing. What if she had prayed for the divorce to be cancelled? What if that prayer had been answered ? Would it not have been better to pray for acceptance of the divorce, allowing the Divine will to manifest?

Be careful what you pray for. It might happen.

There is a basic principle  embedded in the Lord’s prayer: Thy will be done; and elsewhere we read, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God […] and all these things shall be added unto you.

On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, O father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: Nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt.

We don’t always know what’s best and imperfect knowledge obscures the outcome. We don’t know how the story ends. Something might be judged good which is in fact bad or judged bad which is in fact good. Only one thing is assured – commit to the Divine will and life will be rendered meaningful, not random or accidental.

I believe the Stoic conception of prayer accords with an esoteric interpretation of a story appearing in the Book of Genesis

There was once a man called Joseph who dreamed prophetic dreams and for this, his father, Israel, favored him. His brothers grew jealous, attacked Joseph, threw him in a pit and then sold him to slavers who carried him off to Egypt. His brothers told their father that wild beasts had devoured him. The slavers sold Joseph to Pharaoh’s captain of the guard, where he found a modicum of peace until a false accusation landed him in jail for two years. Surely this was all bad news, but not so fast. We must see how the story ends. Through it all, however, Joseph retained his equanimity. Both the captain of the guard and the keeper of the prison entrusted Joseph with all that they had.

Eventually, Joseph’s reputation as a dreamer of dreams reached Pharaoh, who was so impressed by these prophetic abilities that he made Joseph prime minister of Egypt, charged with preparations for the predicted seven years famine. When the famine arrived, Joseph’s father and brothers came to Egypt looking for food. They met Joseph face to face expecting revenge but were instead embraced with acceptance and reassurance:

Do not be grieved nor angry with yourselves that you sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Events which seem random and accidental may in fact be purposeful or may be rendered purposeful by a Higher Power.

You thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save many people alive.

We don’t always know how the story ends. Something which seems bad ends up being good and pursuant to a higher purpose. We can pray for deliverance from betrayal, false accusations and imprisonment but how much better to pray for equanimity, trust, and acceptance until the higher purpose is known.

(c) Adrian Charles Smith 2022

My Interview with Camron Wiltshire

Camron Wiltshire, aka AstroMonk, is a Gnostic seeker, author, filmmaker and co-founder of an amazing website – Sacred Geometry International.

sacredgeometryinternational.com

Explore the mysteries of ancient civilizations as popularized by Graham Hancock. Learn of cosmic cycles of catastrophe and sacred geometry encoded in myth and mystical  architecture. On a virtual quest for the Holy Grail, probe ancient mysteries and uncover the secrets of the pyramids. Camron is currently embarking on a new mission to unite his various pursuits and passions into a cohesive system of knowledge. Knowledge that can help mankind break the chains that bind, and overcome the sinister forces of division and subjugation, through the illuminating path of Gnosis.

Our State of Emergency

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In a national emergency, such as war, disease or natural disaster, the executive branch of government  may temporarily suspend civil liberties to ensure the public safety. During such periods, the executive branch governs by decree but their decrees are not law and are reviewable by the courts. It is only the enabling legislation which should be considered as law. For example, the Emergency Powers Act 1920 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which allowed the Sovereign power, in certain circumstances, to declare a state of emergency by proclamation. The Act does not give the State a license to drive a coach and horses through the national constitution. A government, may not, for example, declare a state of emergency for reasons which are trivial or nonsensical, effectively imposing  a dictatorship by the back door.

Both the declaration of a state of emergency and subsequent decrees are reviewable by the courts. It must first be demonstrated that a genuine emergency exists. Secondly, it must be shown that the decrees ameliorate that emergency. Courts do not censor voices of dissent, as is common in politics or the media; but rather, hear arguments strictly on their merits with no weight assigned to denunciation or ad hominem attacks.

The Wednesbury principle, based on a UK Court of Appeal decision in 1948, allows for judicial review of administrative action, applying a “reasonableness test” to the decisions of authorities exercising power conferred by an Act of Parliament. Decrees, prohibitions, or mandates which defy logic, or which violate generally accepted moral standards, may be struck down.

The concept of “natural law” requires that law must have a foundation in morality to be deemed legitimate. Otherwise, it’s only force — the orders of the mafia boss shouting, Fetch me a beer. Under natural law, we are under no obligation to obey an immoral law or even to consider it as law at all.

By contrast, the philosophy of “legal positivism” conceives of law as the “command of the sovereign”, issuing orders backed by threats. There is a disturbing tendency to regard orders backed by threats as legitimate law, as though authority is beyond scrutiny, to be obeyed without question.

These two competing concepts define the issue — what is law? Is it morality or is it force?  The answer is found through observation of how the law operates, not what we think it ought to be, or how we wish it would be; but what is it?  

An example will serve to illustrate.

In Nazi Germany, a statute made it illegal and punishable by death, to make insulting remarks about Hitler. This was used by some Germans to dispose of unwanted spouses by reporting them to the police. After the war, informants were prosecuted, even though under Nazi law, the defendants were solid citizens performing their civic duty by snitching on offenders. In one such case, the German Court of Appeal found a woman guilty of the offence of deprivation of liberty, because — quoting from the judgment — the statutes were “contrary to the sound conscience and sense of justice of all decent human beings.” In other words, Nazi law was not law because it lacked any character as law being devoid of moral legitimacy.

The positivists objected. Hitler was sovereign and law is, “the command of the sovereign”. They also objected to the Nuremberg trials which followed because, in their view, there was no “sovereign”. Neither is international law considered law, and constitutional law is nothing more than “positive morality” (a morality which is posited or put forward).

In answering the question, clearly morality is embedded in our concept of law because in practice it is observable in the operation of the courts. The Nuremberg trials proceeded, despite the objections of the positivists, and offenders were hanged, including Nazi doctors who imposed medical experiments on people without their informed consent. The trials gave rise to Nuremberg 2, an international agreement upholding that same principle of informed consent, and this has been accepted in all civilized nations to this day.

It would take something truly extraordinary to require an abandonment of that principle. Many professionals have lost their jobs because of “mandates”, and many have succumbed to pressure in order to keep their jobs. But consent to an experimental gene therapy, pushed by companies with a history of criminal behaviour, through media outlets which they control, requires an absence of pressure; because, in law, consent given under duress is not consent.

Does a disease which has a mortality rate of less than 1% and for which the average age of death is 82 justify locking down whole populations and crashing the global economy? The lockdown response amounts to a quarantine of entire healthy populations. An alternative approach would be to quarantine only the sick and most vulnerable.

If someone in power confines you to your own home, under normal circumstances that would amount to the crime of “false imprisonment” and the persons responsible could be held liable without clear and convincing evidence that this was necessary to address an alleged emergency. It’s interesting to me that what some call “the law” may in fact be a crime, as the Nazi informer cases illustrate.

For those worried about the disease, the answer for them is clear — get the injection(s). You are now safe and protected, 92% was the claim. Those who do not take the injection(s) have voluntarily undertaken the risk and that is their business and no one else’s. The assertion that the “protected” need protection form the “unprotected” is that very kind of reasoning which the Wednesbury principle addresses — a proposition so unreasonable “that no sensible person who had applied his mind to it could have arrived at it”.

These and other related questions will now be brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The victims, on behalf of whom the complaint was filed, are “the peoples of the United Kingdom.” One of the seven applicants is Dr. Michael Yeadon, a former vice president and chief scientist of allergy and respiratory research at Pfizer.

One man who understood the concept of “natural law” was Sir Thomas More, the King’s Chancellor during the reign of King  Henry VIII. A man called Ritchie Rich was about to denounce Sir Thomas. Friends and family pleaded with Sir Thomas to have him arrested, something he had within his power. But Sir Thomas refused because Rich had broken no law, although he was about to — the crime of perjury. Sir Thomas was a moral man and for him the law was rooted in morality and conscience, and this, he believed, was our only defense against tyranny. In Robert Bolt’s play, “A Man for All Seasons”, Sir Thomas rebukes his friend Roper for urging him to “cut a great road through the law to get at the devil — and when the last law was down and the devil turns round on you where will you stand, Roper, the laws all being flat”.

Do we now cut a great road through the law to get at the devil, the devil being a global sickness. In the words of Sir Thomas, “I would give the devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake”.

(C) Adrian Charles Smith 2022

For Those to Whom Adversity has Dealt the Final Blow

The Mary Ellen Carter

Whenever hope seems lost – never give up. Rise again! This is the message of a favorite folk song (which I have linked below).

Maritime Canada has a long seafaring tradition, which is reflected in its music. Stan Rogers’ “The Mary Ellen Carter” is an inspirational ballad about a ship which sank in stormy seas. For the owners, she was just an insurance claim; but for her devoted crew, those who knew her best, she was a beloved companion to be rescued from the ocean floor. Newly unemployed, they combine their strength, their skill and their resources to raise the Mary Ellen Carter from the deep.

No one experiences hardship more than those who go down to the sea in ships. In the video introduction, a sailor describes his ordeal in the cold North Atlantic when a fierce storm sends his ship to the bottom. Floating in the freezing water, waves crashing on his head, ready to expire, he finds the strength to sing himself back to life with the lyrics of “The Mary Ellen Carter”; and for him, this was the difference between life and death

The song is a message of hope for all those to whom adversity has dealt the final blow.

 No matter what you’ve lost be it home or love or friend like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!

Christians can understand the mythic significance of rising from a watery grave in the baptism ritual and in the story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  When all hope seems lost, rescue is at hand. In an ancient Egyptian myth, Osiris, a murdered king, is brought back to life and restored to his throne; and likewise, those heroes of a thousand faces from diverse cultures –  suffer a descent into the underworld, followed by a miraculous restoration.

Mythology contains profound truths to sustain us in life. Novels, music, poetry and works of art which tap into these universal motifs have a special and enduring significance because there is a recognition from deep within our subconscious mind.

(C) Adrian Charles Smith 2021

My Interview with Cyd Ropp, PhD

We discuss fundamentalism as a fractal pattern permeating our institutions.

Dr. Cyd Ropp, PhD, is an author, speaker, and a Gnostic sage of the first order. She holds degrees in Psychology, Education, Counseling and a PhD in Classical Rhetoric (the study of ancient manuscripts). Her papers, published in both academic and popular journals, have won many awards, and she taught at  university for six years before launching her own career as a writer and podcaster. Her vision of  individual units of consciousness nested in in a sea of universal consciousness is one which I share, and her commentary on fractal patterns caught my eye because I too use fractal imagery in my writing. I highly recommend Cyd’s books and podcasts.

Audio courtesy Cyd Ropp

Cyd’s two insightful blogs can be found through the below links:

https://asimpleexplanation.blogspot.com

https://newgnosticgospel.blogspot.com

Cyd’s wonderful books can be purchased through either Lulu.com, or Amazon:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bluebirdbooks

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Cyd+Ropp&ref=nb_sb_noss

My Interview with Steve Seven

“Defeating the Archons”

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I have the pleasure of being  joined in the Zoom Room by New Testament scholar Steve Seven. Steve is a prolific author, a psychotherapist, a mythologist and an expert on the psychology of both Freud and Jung. You can find out more about Steve at  https://spiritualinstinctpress.com/.

In both Part 1 and Part 2 we discuss “Defeating the Archons”.

In Part 1 we define terms. Who (what) are the archons, the Elohim, demons and daemons, gods and angels.  How does archontic influence play itself out in the physical realm? We discuss possible solutions, such as “parallel structures” and community-based governance operating within and alongside the empire of the archons.

In Part 2 we discuss deception programs, the importance of multiple sources of information, the quest for autonomy, the importance of inner work as an indirect strategy influencing the outer world.

Part 1

Part 2

(C) Adrian Charles Smith 2021

A Hermetic Prophecy for Our Time

Image: Shutterstock

Ancient prophecies point to a time when the sacred will not be honoured, accepted, or believed in, thus generating chaos in a world “bereft of the presence of its deities” (Hermes). Materialism fills the spiritual void, causing disintegration, deception, crime, war, and environmental degradation. Their idols are their possessions, and their magic is technology; “they worship the work of their own hands” with no reverence for the mystery and wonder of the Cosmos.  The earth, with all its resources, is considered mere pre-production inventory, not a living presence or animating goddess (Sophia), worthy of reverence. Science and technology reinforce the paramount importance of production—we all have our parts to play, so that we might feel successful and receive approval, fulfilling our purpose as cogs in the great wheel of materialism. In the end, having done our duty, we are discarded like so many worn-out parts, no longer fulfilling any purpose or function.

In the tragic/comedy film “About Schmidt” a sense of emptiness in Schmidt’s retirement leads him to re-visit the office to see if he can be “useful.” Once there, he finds his entire life’s work  neatly packed in cardboard boxes on its way to the incinerator, as a new generation of middle management finds a better way. No, it really isn’t pretty what a world without pity can do.

As well as offering the only life worth living, the religion of scientific materialism even promises a kind of technological immortality, called, “transhumanism,” a vain belief which ignores an immutable law of the universe—entropy. Everything returns to dust, even the most sophisticated artificial life form.

And this leads me to the prophecies of the thrice great (Thoth) Hermes as delivered to his pupil, Asclepius, in the Hermetica:

Do you not know, Asclepius, that Egypt is an image of heaven, or, to speak more exactly, in Egypt all the operations of the powers which rule and work in heaven have been transferred to earth below?

Nay, it should rather be said that the whole Cosmos dwells in this our land as in its sanctuary. And yet, since it is fitting that wise men should have knowledge of all events before they come to pass, you must not be left in ignorance of this: there will come a time when it will be seen that in vain have the Egyptians honoured the deity with heartfelt piety and assiduous service; and all our holy worship will be found bootless and ineffectual. For the gods will return from earth to heaven; Egypt will be forsaken, and the land which was once the home of religion will be left desolate, bereft of the presence of its deities.

0 Egypt, Egypt, of thy religion nothing will remain but an empty tale, which thine own children in time to come will not believe; nothing will be left but graven words, and only the stones will tell of thy piety.

Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be thought more profitable than life; no one will raise his eyes to heaven; the pious will be deemed insane, and the impious wise; the madman will be thought a brave man, and the wicked will be esteemed as good. As to the soul, and the belief that it is immortal by nature, or may hope to attain to immortality, as I have taught you, all this they will mock at, and will even persuade themselves that it is false. No word of reverence or piety, no utterance worthy of heaven and of the gods of heaven, will be heard or believed.

And so the gods will depart from mankind, a grievous thing!, and only evil angels will remain, who will mingle with men, and drive the poor wretches by main force into all manner of reckless crime, into wars, and robberies, and frauds, and all things hostile to the nature of the soul.

Yet, Hermes foresees an end to this Matrix and an escape from this “desert of the real” by a dramatic re-ordering of all things, “a new heavens and a new earth” as predicted in the Book of Revelation. Hermes calls it a “new birth of the Cosmos”:

But when all this has befallen, Asclepius, then the Master and Father, God, the first before all, the maker of that god who first came into being, will look on that which has come to pass, and will stay the disorder by the counterworking of his will, which is the good. He will call back to the right path those who have gone astray; he will cleanse the world from evil, now washing it away with waterfloods, now burning it out with fiercest fire, or again expelling it by war and pestilence. And thus he will bring back his world to its former aspect, so that the Cosmos will once more be deemed worthy of worship and wondering reverence, and God, the maker and restorer of the mighty fabric, will be adored by the men of that day with unceasing hymns of praise and blessing. Such is the new birth of the Cosmos; it is a making again of all things good, a holy and awe-striking restoration of all nature; and it is wrought in the process of time by the eternal will of God. For Gods will has no beginning; it is ever the same, and as it now is, even so it has ever been, without beginning. For it is the very being of God to purpose good.

In all corners of the globe, the remnants of ancient civilizations, much older and more advanced than previously known, speak of a piety and reverence for nature and connection to Spirit, which is almost incomprehensible to the modern mind. It is as though they occupied a parallel universe, one viewed by them in a manner which we can barely understand.  From the Great Pyramid of Giza to the living stones of Sacsayhuamán, their piety is written in the stones, some weighing 350 tonnes and placed with a precision that modern science has great difficulty explaining; and all this to honour the sacred and the divine. The production and consumption of endless “stuff” did not interest them; the cycles of the heavens and communion with Spirit did. For them, the veil between dimensions was thin.

In Cuzco, Peru, in 1589, Don Mancio Serra de Leguizamo — one of the last survivors of the original conquerors of Peru—wrote in the preamble of his will, the following:

“We found these kingdoms in such good order, and the said Incas governed them in such wise [manner] that throughout them there was not a thief, nor a vicious man, nor an adulteress, nor was a bad woman admitted among them, nor were there immoral people. The men had honest and useful occupations. The lands, forests, mines, pastures, houses and all kinds of products were regulated and distributed in such sort that each one knew his property without any other person seizing it or occupying it, nor were there lawsuits respecting it… the motive which obliges me to make this statement is the discharge of my conscience, as I find myself guilty. For we have destroyed by our evil example, the people who had such a government as was enjoyed by these natives.”

Leguizamo left all his worldly goods to help the Inca people.

Not all the New World was found in this condition, where indeed some tribes worshipped cruel gods demanding human sacrifice, but this was no more the whole story of indigenous culture than conquest and exploitation is the whole story of European civilization.  Every civilization, every tribe and every individual has a dark side or shadow, and in fact, the brighter the light the darker the shadow. Perhaps “the new birth” will be a coming together of all the tribes of the earth, the contribution of each elevating the whole.

 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

 And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

 And he shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.(Isaiah 2)

The Hopi Indians had a word in their prophecies for a world of consumer driven madness, devoid of Spirit.  They called it Koyaanisqatsi.  Koyannis means “corrupted” or “chaotic” and the word qatsi means “life” or “existence.” The Hopi called it “crazy life” or “life out of balance.”  A documentary film of the same name presents this concept in artistic form and can be accessed by using the link below.  The film helps us to visualize ourselves encased in an artificial environment that has replaced the original. Nature is only a resource to keep the artificial world alive.

If we dig precious things from the earth, we will invite disaster (Hopi prophecy)

(c) Adrian Charles Smith 2021

Revelations on my Return from the Underworld

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It is Friday, April 2, in the year of our demiurge 2021, a Good Friday, as fate would have it. My wife and I have finished a meal of fish chowder and I am feeling good, except for a mild discomfort in my abdomen. The discomfort grows to an acute pain extending in an ever-tightening band from front to back. Sometimes the pain subsides, only to come back like the turning of the screw.

Hours go by without relief. I try numerous remedies, including extra-strength pain killers, but nothing helps. After 24 hours of increasing and unbearable pain and no sleep, I surrender to the inevitable and we call an ambulance. I know that a blocked bowel can be life threatening and that  sometimes cancer causes the blockage.  The bumpy road to the hospital provokes heavy vomiting and I feel better for a while but the pain soon returns.

At the hospital I am given morphine. Two nurses appear and, through the nose, insert a tube into my stomach. The tube won’t go through the nasal passage, causing even more pain. They tell me how sorry they are as they push harder, switching from one nostril to the other. I am moved by their compassion and their courage to do what is needed, however difficult. 

One more night without sleep, this time in a hectic, well-lit and bustling triage area. In the morning a surgeon appears, a black African of kindly disposition, notifying me of impending surgery. He tells me I am garnering a reputation in the hospital as a real troublemaker. I burst out laughing. I can still laugh. That’s good! Where there is laughter there is hope.

As I revive from surgery, that same kindly voice is telling me that no blockage was found despite the CAT scan results clearly identifying one. The surgery had been, in that event, only exploratory, a far less invasive procedure. I would next be given a camera pill to swallow, which will, in theory, work its way to the blockage and then stop, all the while transmitting images to technicians.

It is Saturday, April 3, and I am transferred from triage to the main hospital, a shared room with three other patients.  Sitting up in a bed across from me is the perfect image of General George Armstrong Custer. When Custer speaks, which is often, his voice carries halfway across the ward. He plays loud movies on his entertainment system and keeps complaining that he has no access to the Disney Channel. He constantly asks the nurses for help, but none of them are able to solve his technical problems.

Custer is in a really bad way, something he does not seem to realize. He gets in loud arguments with his wife and sons about when he is going home, but he requires 24-hour attention. His wife tells him, “I am really stressed out about it” but he keeps on minimizing the situation. He will live in the garage to avoid the stairs, he says. His wife starts to leave, wishing him good night. He starts talking again and she says good night one last time. The phone rings and it’s number one son. “Your mom’s mad at me,” Custer says. “She stormed out — didn’t even say good night!”

Custer plays his 3AM movies at full volume. The nurses tell him to turn it down. “I can’t hear anything,” he says. “Well, use earphones then!” Custer never surrenders. “They hurt my ears,” he responds.

So this is what it’s like, I find myself thinking, this descent into the underworld. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat or drink and if I bend my arm it sets off an alarm on the IV machine. All I can do is observe. I think of holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. Everything is taken away from you, he says, except one thing — the power to choose your state of mind.  I close my eyes and let the situation be what it is.

My throat is sore and my mouth so dry I can barely speak, so the nurse brings me a cup of crushed ice, which I must administer sparingly to avoid the ‘no fluids’ order.  I am amazed at how much joy can be derived from a few pieces of crushed ice.

A young nurse visits me frequently, always asking, when she leaves, “Is there anything I can get for you?” I know there is nothing she can get for me and she knows it too but it’s her way of saying I care, I want to help. She has an elaborate tattoo on her forearm and hand, a pink and yellow floral pattern interlaced with light green vines. I come from a generation where tattoos were for merchant seaman and dockworkers, the flotsam and jetsam of the high seas, those who  frequented seedy, smoky waterfront bars in Halifax or Saint John. I could never understand why anyone would want a tattoo, least of all a young woman; but barely visible amongst the vines on her arm is this powerful word — LOVE. I am moved almost to tears. I could tell this gentle soul was born for this line of work. Her every instinct was only to help, to make things better.

How good it is to be wrong! Being right is so dreadfully overrated. How pleasant to observe one more foolish prejudice burned in the crucible of my own experience, this silly thing about women and tattoos. Being wrong can be liberating when it frees the slave from his own stupid opinion. Our capacity to get things wrong is simply enormous.

Saint Paul was chastened by his vision to not call anything clean or unclean. In his former life as a Pharisee of the Pharisees, he had been full of judgments and definite opinions.

I’m beginning to see gnosis as the end product of a process of refinement, the burning away of false judgments, erroneous thinking, and miscalculations to arrive at the pearl of great price.

I have had my bellyful of thinking I’m right, and old Custer is driving this home for me. I reflect upon the various Custer decisions of my life, and the lengthy postmortems in the wake of them. What’s the point of being right if it does nothing for the advancement of your own soul? Surely this is gnosis — nothing to do with correct doctrine. Gnosis is an epiphany. It moves you to your core. Who cares about being right or wrong?

An amazing thing happens after midnight on Saturday. The camera which is supposed to get stuck does not, completes its run without incident. On Sunday morning the order comes through: I may resume eating and drinking. Roxanne arrives later with a care package. It’s now Sunday. There will be more time in the hospital for observation, but the crisis is ending.

The surgeon tells me they do not know what caused my problem. There was no mistaking the CAT scan and blocked bowels do not unblock themselves, he tells me.

So there it is, three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, disgorged (discharged) at last – exhausted, chastened, but renewed. Could this be a metaphor for life itself? Our life’s experience exhibits an intelligence all its own, almost like a dream, full of hidden meaning. We have strayed too far from the centre of things, to a place of confusion and suffering, and now we are finding our way home aided by the deepest levels of the unconscious.

Hardly the Easter celebration I had in mind, but I emerge the better for it.

(c) Adrian Charles Smith 2021

Hermes: Guardian of Natural Law

Lady Justice, or Themis (Shutterstock)

The founders of the American republic, and their forebearers across the sea, were influenced by gnostic/hermetic philosophy when they created their systems of government. For them, constitutional law, English common law, and ancient tradition served as a defense against the abuse of power by government.  

Gnostics had a similar mistrust of Church authority and ecclesiastical decree. The hermeticists placed a high value on individual expression and personal freedom, with government as guarantor of both public and private rights.  Individual gnostic opinions varied, but they were united by a philosophical approach which fostered tolerance, freedom of expression, and creativity. Church authorities sought to limit that expression by imposing a single unifying narrative.

Because divinity was seen as a light emanating from within, the “divine right of kings” shining from above was rendered obsolete.  Without popular consent and participation, government is fire, “a dangerous servant and a fearful master” (as George Washington is reputed to have said).  Government is force, not reason, and the coercive power of the state can be deployed at any time to deprive citizens of their freedom, and hence the need for safeguards – a system of checks and balances.

From earliest times, the jury system was designed to place the fate of an accused in the hands of his peers, and not some tyrant. The ancient writ of habeas corpus (let us have the body) meant no one should disappear without a trace. If arrested, the accused must be brought before a judge and not simply vanish.

Article 9 of the English Bill of Rights 1688 ensures that no one could be arrested and charged with sedition for words uttered in Parliament.

That the Freedom of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parliament.

This system was based on a balance and separation of powers. No single organ or branch of government (legislature, judiciary, executive) should be allowed to dominate the others.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Legal philosophy asks the central question, what is law? There are two schools of thought.

One school, called legal “positivism” says it is “the command of the sovereign,” the so-called “command theory.” It is called legal “positivism” not because its adherents are positive; in fact, they are quite miserable. Positive, in this context, means, that which is posited or put forward by some authoritative body.

The second school, the one I favour, says law is morality.  This is often called natural law or the principles of natural justice. That’s not to say all laws are moral, far from it; but for law to be considered law (conceptually), there must be some minimum moral content to distinguish it from the orders of the mafia boss. The most important moral principles embedded in this concept of law are strict impartiality and equal treatment before the law.  When these things are absent, a judge might wear the robes of his office, but he has become a mere puppet, a politized surrogate for party or ideology.

In 1770, a lawyer named John Adams risked his career successfully defending British troops charged with murder after Bostonians were killed during a riot, the so called “Boston massacre.”  John Adams was an American patriot, and the colony was on the brink of rebellion. Nevertheless, he looked beyond the mob outrage, setting aside his own internal leanings and examined the facts on their merits, without reference to popular opinion or political partisanship. That’s impartiality; without it, we have no law, only force. John Adams was a signatory to the Declaration of Independence and went on to become America’s second president.  

“Lady Justice” (Themis, Titaness of divine law and justice) is seen wearing a blindfold while holding a beam balance with a sword in her hand. The blindfold is a symbol of impartiality. She is an allegorical personification of the moral force in the judicial system.

An example will serve to illustrate legal positivism and natural law. I refer to the so-called “Nazi informer cases.” In Nazi Germany, the quickest way to get rid of an unwanted spouse was to report them to the police for saying hateful things about Hitler.  That was enough to make that person disappear forever. No trial, no evidence, no right to a hearing, no habeas corpus, no innocent until proven guilty; but a conviction and death sentence based solely on the testimony of the complainant. I will return to this concept shortly.  Post-war authorities sought to prosecute the informants because their actions and intent were the moral equivalent of murder. The positivists objected. Law is the “command of the sovereign.” Hitler was sovereign and the complainants were the ultimate solid citizens, faithful servants of the state.

The law functions as a dynamic tension between these two opposing views, but natural law is the gift of Hermes and we take it for granted at our peril. “Lady Justice” is the female side of this duality, and legal positivism the male.  The reality of law, in practise, is an integration, the latter providing certainty, the former seeking justice in individual cases.

Today there is an increasingly widespread acceptance of unrepresentative, unaccountable, supranational governance and a corresponding relaxation of that ancient call for eternal vigilance; but such vigilance is needed now, more than ever.

Trojan Horse (Shutterstock)

Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of a military industrial complex acquiring unwarranted influence.  He was referring to corporate interests seeking to replace representative government as the dominant institutions in society. This condition is now well advanced. It is common to speak of corporate rule or corporatism.

Joel Bakan, Professor of Law at Queen’s University, gives a detailed account of this in his book The Corporation (see my Recommended list). Professor Bakan interviewed Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare, who developed the now famous Hare Test of psychopathy used by mental health professionals to diagnose psychopathy. In the interview, Robert Hare diagnoses the corporation as a psychopathic entity; not employees of the corporation, but the corporation itself which, in law, is a separate legal person.

The diagnosis might help to explain why we are relaxing our much-needed vigilance. The psychopath is a master of deception. They know how to put themselves in a good light. They often rise to the top and may be seen as solid citizens or pillars of the community. This accords with descriptions of the archons (rulers) in The Secret Gospel of John – “And their triumph is in deception (apaton), leading astray, for their own structure is without divinity.”

 A handful of corporations control the major media which allows them to steer narratives to their advantage. Corporations seek to undermine the sovereignty of the nation state and associated constitutions, destroy culture, concepts of natural law, or anything else which stands in the way of absolute power. To this end they will use Trojan horse concepts, speak in terms of “sustainable development” or “equity, diversity and inclusion” which in the hands of normal people would be worthy objectives.

The Trojan horse stands outside the city gates a god-like marvel which offers protection and favour. The Trojans see no threat; the Greeks have fled. They invite it in, not knowing what lies within the belly of the beast. Who would not want to grant dictatorial powers to pious benefactors promising a utopian future – if you really believe it?  (Link to “mask of piety”)

I have written extensively about the erosion of natural law principles, but I give one more example here, one which is highly representative of a much larger trend.

Harry Miller is visited by the police, which is surprising in Britain, since recent public notices had requested that crimes like burglaries and break-ins should be reported online, owing to staff shortages. (About one third of such crimes are not investigated at all.) Harry, a retired police officer himself, wants to know the reason for this unanticipated personal attention. Harry had been engaged in an online Twitter debate over the Gender Recognition Act and someone was offended.  One of the officers tells Harry, “We are here to check your thinking.” Harry asks, “Since when has Orwell’s 1984 become an operating manual for the police force?” The officers do not know who Orwell was, neither do they understand the concept of a “thought crime.”  Harry wants to know why they refer to the complainant as “victim”? Of course that’s because his status as victim has been pre-determined in advance — no evidence needed, no trial, no innocent until proven guilty, no due process. As with the Nazi informer cases, it’s simply enough to complain. They assure Harry that his offence is not a crime, but rather a “hate incident.”

Afterward, Harry had to move heaven and earth to get a copy of the police report, but was surprised, when it arrived, to read at the top of the page, CRIME REPORT. This is the document which would show up in a background check making it impossible to get a job or a position of responsibility. Harry sued in the High Court and won. The judge compared the actions of the police to the Gestapo or the Stasi, inimical to the common law. That was good news for Harry personally, but it was raised at the trial and upheld that the police had behaved properly in accordance with the instructions of the College of Policing. Those instructions were not challenged at Harry’s trial, so thousands of people, who lack Harry’s resources to bring a High Court action, continue to be treated this way. It is now possible in Britain to be convicted of a crime, some carrying a prison sentence, based solely on the testimony of the complainant. This abuse of power has strong institutional support.

When the Titanic struck that iceberg in the cold North Atlantic sea, everything seemed OK at first, apart from a sight vibration, but the view from the promenade deck was different from the view in the engine room.  The Harry Miller case, and others like it, take us down to the engine room, beneath the surface of apparent normalcy.

Every civilization or culture, except a dying one, honours its ancestors and its traditions. Perhaps the strange death of western civilization is not a natural process but rather a controlled demolition.

“Thomas More: …And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you–where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast–and if you cut them down…d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”
― Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

Offense is in the eye of the “controller” (The Times, London)

Adrian Charles Smith (c) 2021