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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Down on the Farm

It was a couple of months ago that we were returning to the Scottish mainland from the Outer Hebrides. While on the ferry we fell into conversation with a crofting couple from those famed Western Isles. The ensuing communication I found to be fascinating, thought-provoking, an eye-opener. About how, for example, the Crofting Commission attempts to encourage a continuation of this form of agriculture, while EU regulations of the one-size-fits-all variety create all kind of obstacles and difficulties for crofters, thereby hastening their disappearance into the history books.

The modern-day crofter does not come reeking of peat smoke and looking like they haven't had a wash for weeks. Our crofting couple were a rather well-dressed dapper-looking pair in their late middle-age. While the male stayed full-time on the farm, the lady divided her time between Edinburgh and the Western Isles.

Crofing is an endangered species. Its roots lie in the mistreatment of native inhabitants by large landowners in  the past. Today it represents a way of life and of farming more in harmony with the rhythms and cycles of the natural world than do most other agricultural systems to be found in north-western Europe.

One topic of conversation that particularly piqued my curiosity was that of Gaelic. This is the language traditionally spoken in Highland Scotland, with its current existence restricted mainly to the far-flung regions of the country. The crofting couple were openly dismissive of Scottish misgovernment's efforts to revive the language. 'It's people in Glasgow that are learning it, while the culture and traditions that actually produced the language are dying out. How can you really know Gaelic when you don't know about peat, kelp, the sea? It's being preserved as a museum piece, not as a living part of a real culture.' This got me thinking....

Frothy surface substitutes for the real thing. It's commonplace. I notice it, and painfully, with regard to eco-stuff and the environment. The green people. Not all of them, but many propelled by an idea of the environment, thought up in a second-floor apartment in the middle of the urban jungle. Similarly with those people guzzling organic juice while living completely synthetic lives in a totally synthetic big city environment.

The difference between an idea of a thing and the thing itself is not experienced at all by many of these idealistic yet, in a way, alienated folk. They don't know the difference, or realise that there may indeed be any difference to distinguish in the frst place. It may be an experience that is not readily come upon - it was unknown to me before my early twenties.

Frothy substitutes, mistaken identities. They all lead me back to the vexed subject of the archons....

A fellow blogger and occasional correspondent included the following instructive take in a recent piece of communication about one of my posts. My recent Gnostic/archon references went, he said, 'a bit further than my curiosity on the subject, and were filed as..... beliefs and belief systems that both of us seem to find an encumbrance.' He is correct - and I'm certainly not in the business of replacing old belief systems with new ones (if you have had direct personal experience of the archons' existence, that is another matter, I suppose). However, putting aside the question of the literal existence of archons, I submit a useful tool to be the adjective derived therefrom: archontic. The archons, according to the Gnostics, are inorganic beings, and the mode of experience they transmit, archontic, is inorganic. It is not direct, real, but fabricated, inorganic. Archontic denotes a type of experience that is virtual, synthetic, substitute, and - this is the trick - without the experiencer realising this to be the case at all!

There is one aspect of the archontic mode of experience - the dominant form of experience of most people embedded in western civilisation, I propose - that proves particularly useful here. A favourite tactic of the archons, it seems, is that of what is called  HAL in the Coptic language - translated as 'simulation'. John Lash explores this in brilliant fashion in 'The End of Patriarchy', chapter seventeen of 'Not In His Image'. "In Gnostic terms the replication of nature in lifeless forms exemplifies HAL, archontic simulation. In the shift from organic form to abstraction an entire range of values is lost, and other values contrary to organic life are adopted as if they were equal, or even superior to, the lost values." And again, "It is as if you mind-modelled nature and then imagined that the lifeless model in your mind itself produces nature."

This is not easy material to get to grips with - not for me, at least. The quotes need reading and re-reading, the ideas need time and energy to be cooked, digested, in the mind. But I feel this material is extremely important, since it describes the mentality that increasingly comes to create the counterfeit world we inhabit, without our even realising that it is counterfeit. The material lays out the mechanism whereby the synthetic world comes into being. Sustituting EU directives as superior to the direct, organic wisdom of the crofters. Promoting Gaelic outside its genuine context, while doing little to fertilise its roots in the lives of men and women in their relationship to the land. A web of synthetic theory based in HAL, simulation. Furthermore, it is a pivotal aspect of much modern 'environmentalism'. Programmes, agendas, abstractions dreamed up in centrally-heated offices. Bereft of direct contact with and real love for Gaia-Sophia, they substitute it with a virtual environmental reality, one that produces the opposite of what it claims to promote. It's all in the archontic mentality. But more of that in the future, folks.

Photo: undiscoveredscotland