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Wrapped in metaphors

Saturday, 18 June 2022 at 22:48

Steiner also on Dr John Dunn. Wrapped in metaphors

Dr John Dunn 2022

A descriptive force wrapped in metaphors. My description of Rudolf Steiner is such because I believe he offers new knowledge, but only if we re-interpret his metaphors in a way applicable to the individual experience. As such (and I have said this before in previous blogs), the cosmic Beginning is a metaphor for the individual experience of the Beginning, which is the only Beginning. Being awoken to the Beginning is the equivalent in Steiner’s terminology to finding the Christ. Remember this whilst reading the re-posted blog below.

John Dunn ©

Know the reality

Dr John Dunn 2022

There follows a summary of how Rudolf Steiner might have described man’s position in our epoch. There is only one path open to a description of this type and this is highly metaphorical. However, the descriptive force of the message wrapped in metaphors depends on the reader first knowing the reality of the world.


Over time it has happened that man has descended, for different degrees of consciousness,to physical thought. He had to carry out an inner activity in which the divine-spiritual beings no longer acted. In ancient times he acted with the imagination and intuition that were given to him by the invisible Masters, the Gods, but later he had to lose this help, in order to win his freedom.

Having lost his true inner dimension, he is currently in such a condition that no matter how much he can grasp the whole outside world with his thought of him, he cannot grasp the depth of inner reality. The superficiality of his intellectual level does not allow him to find the Gods, but he finds a being who gives him the answers, gives him the possibility to organise the world, knowledge, the economy, the future, everything that can be understood and organised through fallen thought. The being he finds is the one that Rudolf Steiner defines as the most dazzling intelligence on Earth: Ahriman. At that same level, that of fallen thought, however, man can also encounter Christ. It can be said that at that level man encounters the presence of Christ and the presence of Ahriman on the same level. Of course not because Christ and Ahriman are on the same level, but they are for the man who thinks with the thought of him fallen.

Man has the possibility, through Christ, of rediscovering the I as he was originally. However, on the level of reflected thought he finds more easily a force that gives him everything organised: knowledge, physical,mathematical, philosophical knowledge, ethics, logic, administrative capacity, and also politics, the judiciary, medicine, even art, religion, metaphysics and meditation. It is all in the kingdom of Ahriman!

Man is put in a position to know this dazzling power, but he also has the ability to perform an act of freedom and reject the easy path of Ahriman, to find the more difficult one of Christ. But he can't find Christ if he first doesn't know the reality of the world.

John Dunn ©

Rudolf Steiner’s Darwinism

Friday, 17 June 2022 at 22:33

Steiner on Dr John Dunn. Rudolf Steiner’s Darwinism

Dr John Dunn 2022

There-posted blog below concerns the failing which runs through much of Steiner’s great contribution to human knowledge. His failing was his slavery to the evolutionary concepts of Darwin. Steiner was a Darwinist.

And yet at the core of Steiner’s work are ideas that, stripped of their Darwinism, will at some point in the future, change the way that we understand what it means to be human.

If Steiner’s cosmic mythology could be reinterpreted as a metaphor for the individual human experience, then the Darwinism that hinders his work would fade away to insignificance.

John Dunn ©

Thoughts on love prompted by Rudolf Steiner

Dr John Dunn 2022

Steiner was hopelessly in thrall to the Darwinism of his time in the way that he believed human development to be a process of evolution.

There was a time, he believed, when the Divine expressed itself through love in humans.

The gods received the love that pulses through human beings and lived from it.

Man lived on the basis of love e.g. blood ties, ethnic groups etc.

Between sexes, love became a blind drive, a sexuality, blind instinct

The Gods were nourished by this blind instinct

Humans were filled with passions, but with no knowledge as to what drove their desires.

Hosts of Lucifer intervened between between gods and men.

Under influence of the gods alone the human being would have remained without the astral light, without knowledge.

Lucifer had to make up for lost time in development and employed the human being for this purpose

Lucifer had no sensory existence, but used human beings for this purpose.

Gods implanted love in people.

Lucifer seduced those people into seeing it in the light.

Lucifer has a much more intimate relationship to human beings than the gods who reign in love and love alone.

Lucifer opened the eyes of human beings and looked out with us, completing his development with us.

Carried in the womb of the gods we were children of the gods.

Striving with Lucifer we are a friend of Lucifer.

This association was expressed in the legend of how Paradise was lost.

It was expressed too in the supersession of Judaism by Christianity.

The law works from external compulsion, what Christ brought to the world works from inside.

The God of love worked above human beings, within them the light worked.

To reach love one must first become light.

Christ represents the elevation of light to love.

Light can lead to evil, but it must exist if we are to become free.

Law becomes grace as the law is lifted out of the human beings own heart.

Now knowledge can be lifted up to love.


The challenge in all the above, I feel, is to exclude the evolutionary element of Steiner’s mythology and render it down from human beings in general to the immediate individual experience.

John Dunn ©

Child-like frivolity

Thursday, 16 June 2022 at 23:14

Cave painters on Dr John Dunn. Child-like frivolity

Dr John Dunn 2022

The re-posted blog below should be read in the context of words written for my book Renaissance: Counter-Renaissance.The Originatory Principle is, in itself, an act of spontaneity. The violation of the indefinite cycle is likened to something as innocent as a child turning to what delights it.

The world came into being in an act of spontaneity. There was no pre-determined reason for its creation, which was an act of total freedom. The spontaneity of this act was likened by Dante to a child at play who turns eagerly to what delights it. Such unrestrained freedom became the foundation for positing our own human freedom. It is because we were born out of this spontaneous action that we can go on believing that there is such a freedom for us. (p.7)

That was Dante’s view. My view is that the frivolous nature of any act open to man is potentially deadly to any equilibrium.

John Dunn ©

Deathly frivolity

Dr John Dunn 2022

Ancient man created beautiful cave art in the deepest darkest places that could not be seen.

In modern terms, this was a frivolous and wasteful activity. It was like a child alone at play, expressive of a creativity that does not need an audience.

Measured by the same terms, the creation of the cosmos was a frivolous act.

But is not a frivolous act an intervention in a self-regulating system? It is an act without purpose only in the terms of the self-regulating system itself.

Self-regulating closed systems, i.e. equilibria, do not need minds; do not need man.

The cave painter does not affect the outcome of the hunt, but he asserts his will upon the world and escapes his former animal-like existence as a purposeful functionary within the self-regulating natural world.

Escaping equilibria is the essence of what it is to be human. In terms of the particular equilibrium from which man must escape, humanisation will always be an excess, exuberance and frivolity.

The frivolity is even more marked in the face of death. I do not know where this leads us, but may have something to do with the fact that man is being unto death, whereas animals are being in the present.

John Dunn ©

Another precursor

Wednesday, 15 June 2022 at 21:08

Forest and house on Dr John Dunn. Another precursor

Dr John Dunn 2022

An extremely short piece, but one that I would catagorise to be included in my Precursor blogs. The precursors in question were precursors to the light, not the light, but each bore witness of that light.

The ‘Cosmic beginning is a metaphor for individual Beginning is a metaphor for personal Beginning, and the common denominator is Love’.

The same applies to the short blog below, except that the metaphors apply to a personal state of mind before the Beginning, i.e. one held in thrall to Ananke. However, the light shone through once I began to carve out my clearing in the forest.

I chose the lowest threshold option into university possible and just scraped together the qualifications to getthere. I did it all myself. Something was driving me. I created space -space to read and think. (See archived blog: Light passed through)

John Dunn ©

Clearing in the forest

Dr John Dunn 2022

My dear loving father had financed the low entry threshold university degree in business, expecting much of me. I formed friendships of convenience in the early exploratory months of my university time, none of which survived beyond the first year. During this brush with an academia of sorts, I walked and read, walked and read, immersing myself without map in the city and rambling suburbs, lost for hours, never ever reading the set books, never ever attending lectures; but this was education, real learning. Classics of English literature, poetry, philosophy, biography, all were on my personal syllabus. This was the first clearing in the forest.

John Dunn ©

An Eden in need of invasion

Tuesday, 14 June 2022 at 22:06

Adam and Eve on Dr John Dunn. An Eden in need of invasion

Dr John Dunn 2022

There is gain and there is loss in a second awakening. It is from the latter ‘that all this good of evil shall produce, and evil turn to good’.

I test again the statement made in the last re-posted blog entitled Chicken and egg limitations, i.e. that ‘Cosmic beginning is a metaphor for individual Beginning is a metaphor for personal Beginning, and the common denominator is Love’.

Miltonic Eden was in need of invasion, but it was not the invasion per se that assuaged the need, it was a good that came through loss.

A personal Eden might well be in need of invasion, Love might well be the violator, but it is from loss that new life rises, i.e. the ‘Death and Resurrection of the Self’.

John Dunn ©

Siege mentality

Dr John Dunn 2022

Engraving above: 'These two Emparadised in one another's arms / The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill / Of bliss on bliss.' Paradise Lost (1667) bk. 4, 1.505*

The outsider is the violator, both evil tempter and impartial punisher of the wicked. Violation left me at first elated and then bereft. There followed the torment of unrequited love; and it is the humanising aspects of grief and despair, and all the collateral tragedy that recallthe classical heroes of old echoed in Miltonic epic.

The Outsider’s mission to arouse and inflame man is a siege motif, where Eden becomes a Troy in need of invasion. Like Odysseus, adept at ignoble disguise, bearing gifts through a composite Trojan horse of serpent and woman, the Outsider ultimately succeeds in his goal to penetrate and vanquish the fortress. With the Fall comes awakening yes, but also loss,and it is the loss that is humanising - a life unto death.

In Book IX of John Milton’s Paradise Lost Adam and Eve prepared for their daily work tending the Garden; and because the Garden's growth seemed to surpass their labours, Eve suggested that they work apart. She had to get away from Adam.

Was not Milton’s Eve aware of vain labours in a garden ever more luxuriant and forever on the verge of wilderness? The argument with Eve in Book IX of Paradise Lost exposed Adam to the truth of what Eve had known all along. Their strained contentment in the Garden was no way to live - docile, passive and slaves to nature. In Book XII, Adam proclaims that the good resulting from the Fall that Eve induced is ‘more wonderful’ than the goodness in the Creation itself. He exclaims:

Oh goodness infinite, goodness immense!
That all this good of evil shall produce,
And evil turn to good; more wonderful
Than that which by creation first brought forth
Light out of darkness!

Love emparadised is something that imprisons, something stifling and claustrophobic, something complex and sometimes horrific. It needs a second awakening. Loss and unrequited love are where open airy uplands lie… across the lonely wuthering heights of heath and cliff.

* Paradise Lost - Adam Awakening Eve. Engraver - R. Earlom, Designer R. Westall, 1794

John Dunn ©

Chicken and egg limitations

Monday, 13 June 2022 at 21:38

Egg and snake on Dr John Dunn. Chicken and egg limitations

Dr John Dunn 2022

Cosmic beginning is a metaphor for individual Beginning is a metaphor for personal Beginning, and the common denominator is Love.

And whatever the answer to the chicken and egg question, always the Originatory Principle is Love.

In the beginning is Love, and Love is with God, and Love is God. The same is in the beginning with God.

John Dunn ©


Dr John Dunn 2022

And where does compulsion fit into the cosmic egg metaphor? What about the paradox of the escape from Ananke and the Fates being driven by some form of compulsion?

For the violation of a previous equilibrium comes from outside. Is that not the very nature of a violation, i.e. a forced entry?

One does not choose to fall in love. One is compelled to create.

Does not the compelling set of circumstances itself comprise a closed system? There is no escape once in love. One is compelled to put pen to paper, to paint…

I am reminded of how a youthful non-entity of an ordinary life was awoken by exposure to a television documentary about W. B. Yeats. It had a potent Yeatsian mixture of poetry and the occult,albeit within the anodyne limits of the BBC, but enough of the magic and mystery from the life of Yeats seeped through time to enter the bloodstream of the young viewer.After watching the programme, he had to put pen to paper; the very first time that he had wanted to do so voluntarily. He quickly scribbled his nonsensical thoughts, long lost to the world, in an effort to contain the experience within some sort of boundary, to wrap it up and place it in the sequence of experiences that happened to him day-to-day.Who knows what was on the piece of paper, but it was born of that violation and would not be aborted. The walls of the egg were breached.

Encounter is the central point; and there must be a violation. This in itself is a proof against solipsism, unless it is I who created or readied myself for the encounters that violated me.

That which we encounter must change something or it is not a violation; rather it is no more than a polite smile. A violation changes everything- that first motorcycle and the long lonely rides across the northern arc of Yorkshire Moors and Lake District; the debilitating sickness of first love; those femmes fatales, with their bruises and scars of life’s trials; that exposure to thinking lives and the books they wrote. And now the serpent of memory holds me.

What of the Orphic egg metaphor? It has its chicken and egg limitations. Yes Eros broke free; but only after egg itself was penetrated and fertilised

John Dunn ©

Fords bridged

Sunday, 12 June 2022 at 22:23

Tempsford Bridge on Dr John Dunn. Tempsford Bridge

Fords bridged

Dr John Dunn 2022

The soon to be completed commentary to my next video to be published shortly on YouTube. I have been preoccupied with a number of my many-varied personal pursuits over recent days, so I include the following as one way of keeping the home page fresh and changing for Google search purposes.

Please remember, the following is a commentary taken down from the spoken word, meaning that the written grammar leaves much to be desired. For now, here it is…

Great Barford

There are two bridges on the itinerary today: Tempsford Bridge on the Great North Road, that’s for later, and Great Barford Bridge, which I’m about to approach just now.

Its an old and narrow bridge and included on John Cary’s route between Oxford and Cambridge in a road book of the late 18th century. You can see from the traffic that it’s still well used to this day.

And here it is. Over the River Great Ouse.

The village of Great Barford, the church in the distance, and in front a popular pub called The Anchor.

I’ll park up here on this road called New Road.

And there’s the bridge. Not the best side for viewing and the light isn’t helping, but I’ll take a look from the other side soon.

This was the highest navigable point on the River Great Ouse for small cargo boats coming in from the coast and at one time there was a wharf here, hence the name of the pub, The Anchor.

This is the bridge from the other side, a much clearer view.

The bridge and causeway were built largely of stone in the fourteen hundreds, with some clever brick-built widening in the 19th century.

You can see how the Victorians kept the essential stone structure of the medieval bridge, whilst building up and outwards to add extra width to the roadway above. Of course, they could never have anticipated the motor traffic that has used the bridge since, but there it is, still functioning.

The daffodils let you know that I’m here in early Spring.

There’s a close-up showing the fifteenth century stone bridge and the Victorian brick additions.


Back on my Royal Enfield Classic 500, I’ll continue along this dead straight road which I said earlier is called New Road; ’new’ because it was new when constructed in the late eighteenth century, at the height of the stage coach era. The new road took the traffic off Great Barford’s High Street. Yes - traffic problems two hundred plus years ago!

I have arrived in the village of Roxton.

And it's towards the Great North Road that I'm heading now, to see another old bridge, the Tempsford Bridge, just north of Tempsford on the A1 Great North Road near the Black Cat Roundabout. You’ve probably crossed it many times and never given it a second thought.

This is Schoo lLane, a strange road this. Obviously named after the village school which is still a fully functioning Academy. There it is, we’re just passing it on the right.

The road clearly shows on Victorian Ordnance Survey maps, running from Roxton to the Great North Road, but the current OS map designates it as a track with footpath right of way.

I suppose there’s a view that its use shouldn’t be encouraged. Nevertheless, it looks like a road and is in fact well surfaced, I’ll carry on.

There’s the traffic on the A1 ahead.

Crossing the busy A1 to view the bridge is a small challenge, and I suppose holds the reason why being here is discouraged.. It's all about timing. Here's a gap in the traffic, let's go.

And into Kelpies Boat Yard, where my map research tells me there should be a good view of the Tempsford Bridge.

This boatyard on the River Great Ouse is its own little lost world, enclosed by the separate carriageways of the Great North Road.

Old river boats in various states of repair scattered around. It has its own special charm.

The bridge was designed by James Savage, built by Johnson and Sons and completed in 1820.

Not nearly as old as Great Barford Bridge, but for me more impressive because of the job it still does - carrying all the heavy traffic on the north-bound carriageway of the Great North Road.

There was a ford here in the 10th century. In 1675 river navigation, until that point only as far as Great Barford was opened up as far as Bedford and the increasing traffic found the ford difficult to deal with. The solution, a staunch below the ford, kept the channel clear but resulted in flooding of the fields to either side and made the ford harder to use by wheeled traffic.

In 1725 the road from Bedford to the Great North Road became a turnpike and one of the first resolutions was to build a bridge across the Great Ouse at Tempsford. A six arch wooden bridge was completed in 1736. In 1770 the approach road to the bridge was raised on a causeway which had three flood arches let into it.

By 1814 the wooden bridge was described as in “great decay, broken and ruinous”.

By 1820 it had been replaced by the stone bridge we now see.

The light is not too good from this side of the river, I’ll ride around to the other side to take another look.

As I leave you can just see the concrete bridge, built in the 1960s to allow for the duelling of the road. It carries the southbound traffic.

Ok, it’s back to the Great North Road.

I’m now riding northbound on the Great North Road A1, just south of Kelpies Boatyard, on the stretch which by-passes the village of Tempsford. The A1 passed down the high street of the village until the by-pass was built in 1961.

I’m looking for a pub called the Anchor on the left. There’s a footpath behind it that will take me to the the bridge.

There’s the Anchor coming up. Built near the road in 1831 to pick up business from passers-by, stage coaches and the like. Remember, this was just before the Victorian railway boom.

My battery ran out just as I entered the car park.

Freshly batteried, I join the footpath behind the pub.

That white cottage you may have just glimpsed I later discovered was the old seventeenth century Anchor Anchor pub that the later one replaced. I wish I’d kept the camera running… but you can’t film everything.

Back to the bridge.

And there it is in all its glory, still carrying the heavy traffic that itsbuilders could never possibly have imagined in their wildest dreams.

Lovely stonework. Glorious wide shallow arches. What a gem of a bridge. Form and function in perfect harmony.

The bridge is mostly constructed of dressed sandstone quarried at nearby Sandy, but the cut waters, arches and south face band of the river bridge are of Bramley Fall stone, Bramley being a district of Leeds in Yorkshire

You can just make of Kelpies Boatyard through the arches where I was stood earlier.

There’s another part of the floodplain bridges with the same stone.

There’s a view of the later concrete bridge, now carrying the southbound traffic.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the old bridge is still bearing such a heavy load of traffic. There are probably many such examples of old bridges adapting to the modern world in this way.

But it still strikes me as rather amazing that a bridge built for stage coaches is now bearing the load of 40 ton lorries, day in, day out, and into the foreseeable future.

Now its my turn, about 41 stones in weight, bike and me together.

The road bends twice to follow the old bridge across the river

And it didn’t move a bit.

YouTube is my store of motorcycling memories.

If you’d like to join me on another ride, just like and subscribe, and you’ll then know when I’m next out and about.

For now I’m done.

John Dunn ©

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