Saturday, 30 January 2016

The writing of William Arkle's A Geography of Consciousness - Colin Wilson's part in the matter

A Geography of Consciousness (1974) was apparently William Arkle's first publication.

It is a book that is very dense and difficult to read - by far the most demanding of Arkle's writings - because it treats consciousness in a series of very strict and abstract, physics-like metaphors, presumably drawn from Arkle's training as a engineer.

(He later wrote a similarly uncompromising mini-book or pamphlet called The Hologram and Mind - self-published in about 1990.)

Although A Geography of Consciousness (GoC) was the first (and for thirty years the only) book of Arkle's that I encountered, I found it impossible to read - and indeed it was the last of his works I properly tackled since my re-discovery of Arkle a couple of years ago. Yet it is a vital book for me - with an unsurpassed concentration of insights and illuminations.

I now see that the reason I did not get much nourishment from GoC before, was that it demands (and, I now know, rewards) total attention - and it cannot be taken more than a page or two at a time - then stopping to make notes, think and absorb. It took me months to read when I finally got through it.

Although Arkle turned-out to have a lot more to say on several matters, it is clear that he was trying to get 'everything' into GoC - and also to depict the way that he had arrived at his conclusions. Therefore, a special aspect of this book to an Arkle-ite is to see his mind 'in action' - to see how he used strict engineering metaphors to think about the highest and deepest spiritual matters.

(Note: What follows is based on the internal, textual evidence of GoC, and I have no direct knowledge about this matter.)

In the lead-up to GoC being published, or perhaps as a condition of its publication; it must have been obvious to Arkle's publisher and supporters - and especially his friend the successful author Colin Wilson - that the main text of the book was simply too difficult.

The happy solution arrived at was firstly for Colin Wilson to contribute an Introduction - describing Arkle and his life, explaining the main ideas, and setting them into a broader context.

In addition, I am almost-sure that Colin Wilson 'ghosted' or substantially re-wrote the first chapter of the book called Foreword - because this is done in a style that is identical with Wilson's own, and quite different not just from the rest of the book but different from anything else that Arkle ever published.

The Foreword, fusing as it does Arkle's ideas and Wilson's clarity, is a wonderful little piece. Even when I found the rest of the book impenetrable - I would often return to re-read it.

This part I especially like:

Imagine that you open your eyes in a dark bedroom. You know it is morning outside, because you can see the cracks of light at the edge of the heavy curtains; it looks like a cold, grey light, and you suspect it is raining. You think of the things you have to do when you get up, and they all seem dreary.

Finally you yawn, cross to the window, and draw the curtains.
Sunlight streams in, marvellously warm!  

You open the window, and the air smells warm and fresh. The feeling of dreariness vanishes. It is replaced by an eager desire to get your breakfast and get outside. 

A moment before, your consciousness has been 'hanging back', like a dog that doesn't want to go outside on a cold day. Now it is straining at the lead, pulling you forward. 

Then, I believe; on Wilson's advice Arkle went through the whole book and wrote a 'Summary' for each chapter - each of which has the appearance of having been done more as an interpretation and re-explanation, than as a 'summary' in the strict sense. Then a detailed Contents was provided, with sub-headings (these are not present in the main body of the text - but this type of analytic contents was a favourite device of Wilson's).

The 'Conclusion' - although clearly done by Arkle, and in his style; also has a rather different style from the main text - more personal and direct, and includes reference to ideas from Letter from a Father which had been composed between finishing GoC and its publication, and to which Wilson refers in his Introduction. I suspect that this section was added at Wilson's suggestion.

In sum, it very much looks as if Colin Wilson had a hand in preparing the final text of Geography of Consciousness, and had made several suggestions on how it could most clearly be presented to the reader - as well as providing the Introduction and (I infer) the Foreword.

Colin Wilson was therefore a friend indeed! - And such generosity in helping a novice author whose ideas he believed deserved a hearing was entirely typical of the man: he did this many times for many other people.

Note added 2 Feb 2016. I had not previously noticed that the self-published pamphlet of Letter from a Father is marked 1973, which is one year before the publication of Geography of Consciousness. Since the Letter was (according to Wilson's Introduction) written after GoC, then this chronology seems to confirm my above inference that there was a prolonged period (of more than a year) during which Arkle was working on how best to present GoC - apparently in consultation with Wilson. This period included evaluating whether or not to include the(already self-published, although this was not mentioned by Wilson) Letter as an Appendix to GoC. Wilson tells us the decision was taken not to include the Letter, as being in an altogether different style. The Letter eventually appeared three years later as part of The Great Gift, which was issued by the same publisher.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Why do we not get divine help whenever we ask for it?

William Arkle, transcribed and edited from the question time following a lecture by William Arkle given on March 16th 1992 to a group in Yeovil

From just after 1:16 hours at:

God is working to make friends and not carbon copies of himself.

The angels want you to get the full experience of being a mortal incarnate person. They know that your view of the experience of what is going-on is very limited.

The angels therefore know that there are times when it is correct for you to ask for help and guidance - and they also know that there are times when it is incorrect for you to ask for help and guidance; and then they are going to leave you to muddle through on your own. Often for reasons that we cannot see, from our perspective of mortal life.

If you want help you need to realize that angels are always present around us in God's system, and God too is always present in his own system: so you have a lot of helpers, and their numbers are always increasing.

They will help you if you ask and your need is real and timely; but if you need is not real and timely then they will not help.

Sometimes you need to be shown the way, but there many other times when - because of your uniqueness - 'help' would amount to interference is something which is absolutely sacred to God's purpose: which is you making your own decision concerning your essential uniqueness.

When we understand the importance of God's purpose in 'making friends' of us, we recognize that it is the uniqueness of the friend which matters. It would be no good having lots of friends if they are all the same - then each individual friend does not signify anything.

So, there are times when you are in the process of making your own uniqueness when you will not get any help - and there are times when you are not essentially making your uniqueness when you can get help.

because, unless the process of mortal life is experienced as really difficult, then you are not going to get any significant benefit from it. And every time somebody tries to make things easier for you, they are not really being your friend.

There is help, and there is not-help. There is one sort of help which destroys the person, and another sort of help which really helps them - and to know the difference between them requires a lot of wisdom (wisdom which, here and now, we do not always possess).

You are made such that what you learn the hard way matters far more to you - and therefore becomes more significant to you, and more real to you - than anything you might get the easy way.

Note: When Arkle refers to 'making friends' he means that God's main purpose in creation is to raise Men (some Men, those who wish for this, and make the long and arduous journal of divinization) to become his friends - at God's own level (as already happened with his Son Jesus Christ); and part of the plan to populate Heaven is that these friends must be independent souls and each unique. Therefore, much of our mortal incarnate life on earth is about undergoing real, tough experiences which we are supposed to deal with ourselves - to as great an extent as possible.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Letter from a Mother in Heaven

The following was inspired by William Arkle's Letter from a Father - but is within the frame of Mormon theology.

My Dear Child,

I feel a need to write this letter because I am grieved at the misery and despair of so many of my children in their earthly lives - your loneliness and isolation. My hope is that knowing a little more about me, and learning of the love I always have for you, will help you through the adolescent trials of mortality, and inspire you to make the choice to return as adults to dwell again in Heaven.

It may be helpful for you to know something of the history of the long and loving relationship between us, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, to know the reason why you hear so little about me during your mortal existence - why we encourage you to speak directly with your God your Father, and to think much on your Brother Christ, but not - as a rule - to focus your attention on me.

Your Heavenly Father and I are the original co-creators and rulers of creation - but we have different areas of responsibility. Briefly, your Father is more concerned with 'creation' and I with 'generation'.

Your Father made the universe, and - with him - your Brother Jesus made the earth and then gave you the possibility of resurrection to eternal life. You may wonder what I was doing all this time? The simplest answer is that my special responsibility was with you spirit children, during the long ages of your pre-mortal sojourn in Heaven.

As you know, I am your spiritual mother - it was through my divine parturition that you transformed from being merely unaware primorial 'intelligences' to persons; but at first you were 'spiritual babies' and only gradually became more mature as pre-mortal spirits.

Somewhat like an earthly mother, it was my particular job to nurture and care for you during pre-mortal life, when you were developing and growing as spirit children.

Clearly some of you have hazy memories of the blissfulness of that time, the era when you were new-born or young and dependent child spirits - when you were barely self-aware, knew little of the past or future, but lived in a an eternal joyous present, a surrounding atmosphere of sustaining love.

You and I may never again experience the un-self-conscious bliss of that time of early spiritual childhood - and that is bittersweet for me, as it is for you.

But it is our plan and hope that you will grow beyond that to develop towards becoming like your Brother Jesus Christ - who lives and works with your Father and I; in other words, that you will become independent, self-aware god-children who will - from your achieved freedom, power and autonomy - choose to return and dwell with us as divine friends, participating in the great and endless work of loving creation.

And ultimately, that you may eventually have spirit children of your own - so that we all may dwell together as a loving extended and ever-growing family.

So, as pre-mortal spirits you lived constantly in my presence for man ages; but you grew, and developed, and eventually you decided to venture into mortal life and join the plan of salvation: of mortality and resurrection.

Then you made the brave step: you voluntarily left behind the reality of that atmosphere of sustaining love, and your left behind your continuous awareness of me. This was necessary in order for you to experience and develop your own independent selves, something which was not possible in the conditions of pre-mortal life.

My deepest hope is that you will pass through the painful isolation of spiritual adolescence during your mortal life on earth; and be resurrected to spiritual adulthood. That is my wish - that you will separate from me, in order to return - but to return

But I know that mortal life is not always as anticipated, and some of you - having tasted the isolation of autonomy - want nothing more than to return to the un-self-conscious bliss of our pre-mortal child life together. Since I cannot, and would not wish to, coerce you - but only to move forward step-by-step with your full consent and willingness - and it is your choice, you can return to your former state and remain in that situation until such a time as you are ready and willing to move on.

Otherwise, it may assist your time of learning by experience to know that although we are currently separated; I am lovingly concerned with you every moment and every step of the way. In a thousand invisible ways that you can scarcely imagine, I help you - nearly always without drawing your attention to the fact. I am aware of, and consoled by, your prayers and meditations to the Father and Son.

Be assured: I rejoice in your happiness and spiritual progress, I feel your sufferings, and I am most deeply worried by your hostility and rejection and the resulting despair.

And I yearn for nothing more than your safe return as mature, grown-up sons and daughters.

With all my love,
Your Mother in Heaven