1. A strange day yesterday, as my landlord’s wife rang to tell me he had died. So rest in peace, Reinhard. He had a heart attack about 7 weeks ago, was in a coma, then died a few days after my first & only visit. i am shocked, as he had seemed physically okay, when i last say him – just absent from his body – and he was comparatively young (mid 5os), and before the attack full of energy & vim. He was, however, a typically German workaholic, born in poverty, who seemed unable to stop working – until finally his heart gave out.

Reinhard helped me enormously – moving me & my goods from the kangarhaus to Germering, offering to help with the DKV (my medical insurance company), trying to get my bond back from the deranged kangarlandlady, taking me to a furniture store and spending a good hour of his time hunting affordable curtains for my flat. All of this without asking for a pfennig in return.

i have been exploited and used by companies and crazies in Germany – by inlingua in Kiel, who fired me without warning or explanation after 4 weeks; by the kangarhaus landlady; by the Deutsche Krankenversicherung; by my tax consultant, who has now charged me 3 times the norm. It is not that Germans are unusually corrupt and greedy, just human, and faced with a foreigner who can barely speak the Bosche, they will take advantage. Companies like inlingua don’t care if they ruin human beings, if they lure them from England, force them to waste their savings, and then fire them and leave them to commit suicide; they have, likewise, a grim reputation among students. But then there are exceptions, individuals like Morgana or Reinhard, both of whom opened doors in my life.

i don’t feel very sad about Reinhard – just a pervasive melancholy. Partly it is because i assume he is already choosing his next life, and we may meet again; partly because though i liked him greatly, we were not close. i dreamt of him on Sunday night/Monday morning, which would be round about when he died; it was my only dream of the man; he wanted to take me to Höffner’s (the furniture store where we got curtains), and worried i wouldn’t manage on my own; then i tried to persuade him to return to his body and he suddenly slipped away and i knew he wouldn’t return. At the time i assumed it was just a dream, as it felt no different to normal dreams (there are dreams and dreams).

i noted how i felt, now i know Reinhard is dead, for use in my novel. This is the first death to come close to me. A suggestive rebuke to psycho-biographical explanations, that i had far greater experience of death in my last life, from a young age, but i am just as morbid and death “obsessed” as Elberry; when one can compare two ostensibly very different lives, and see recurrent themes, the usual biographical explanations seem superficial and incidental. Would it have surprised my last life, to know he had been a priestess of Ishtar (goddess of sex, war, and the descent to the underworld), a tomb-builder in Egypt, who thought he was Thoth (god of writing, magic, and the descent to the underworld), and that he would shortly be reborn as an Anglo-Indian vitki, worshipper of Wodan (god of death, magic, and the descent to the underworld)?

2. Another shock yesterday, as my friend Bonehead forwarded a terrorism article naming Max the Killer, his first martial mentor, as being involved in British Muslim terrorist circles. A surprise, as i met Max a couple of times and thought he seemed very warm, friendly, humorous, sane. He was also then drawn more to Buddhism (the idea of emptiness) than to primitive Islam (misogyny, homophobia, racism, and stonings and beards). In the article he is presented as a Conradian man of mystery, a kind of Mr Kurtz or evil Lord Jim of terrorism, running training camps for young bearded morons. Weird, yet right – when i knew him he was a charismatic, laid-back leader, the kind of person everyone looks to for orders, precisely because he seems so relaxed and cheerful, and normal.

i can understand, and sympathise with, the desire to kill other human beings, to live a significant life of homicide and danger. But to become a bearded Muslim – this seems to me a bad joke, it is not in good taste, it is not decent. There are surely many other ways of fulfilling one’s natural desire to kill and be killed.

3. Today i met Bettina, one of my students, for our second tandem session. She does chi kung and, while working for a large German car company, says things like “perhaps it is important to have an expensive car if there is nothing else in your life.” A good woman.

We speak English for 40 minutes, German for 20. After 20 minutes of Bosche, trying to explain how Shakespeare uses language in Measure for Measure, i felt like collapsing.  She shares my horror of offices. i feel, again, that i was absolutely right to leave office work and England. A line i came across on Tai Chi Heartwork the other day:

Warriors – those who cannot accept the wrong life – will always find cross-energy.

i would prefer fighter or brawler or killer or homicidal maniac, as warrior now has such a sterile New Age stink, the kind of word bad bo-bo neo-Beat Cafe Latte poets use about themselves, loudly, in Starbucks, before going to do bad Tai Chi in a very public park. But the idea is sound – you refuse to make essential compromises, and provided your refusal is substantial, and the only alternative is death, you will attract allies, friends.

After finishing our tandem, Bettina walked me to the u-bahn near her office. Two huge black birds – crows or ravens, i am unsure which – flew over and landed on the grassy verge to tear some found bread apart. i halted and, aware of Bettina’s puzzled look, said “i saw these birds in your car park last time. The same birds.”

During our tandem we talked about the “decline of the West”. i told her about the shithead apprentices i taught in Kassel, whose only interests were horror/porn movies, computers, mobile phones, and cars. The West has been in decline for at least 100 years, before even the First World War: it is to do with the erasing of any extra-materialist (religious or otherwise) apprehension, the destruction of the sacred.

To be human is to impinge, however dimly, on that which is beyond the human – or beyond the material, the visible and known. Science has inculcated a false model of knowledge. Science can only deal with the empirical; its basis is repeatable scientific experiment, statistical analysis (which can only deal with probablities). Anything not subject to empirical observation & statistical analysis is invisible to science (at best, scientists can proffer impressionist, manifestly pseudo-scientific “explanations”), yet scientists in their indomitable arrogance are unable to admit their limits – this is not remarkable, for they are generally ignorant of philosophy or epistemology; they are mathematicians, knowing about as much of epistemology as my 19-year-old engineering apprentices. They are often ostensibly fuelled by hatred of Christianity, and its long history of persecutions & inhumanity, though one feels these scientists would be quite happy in Stalinist Russia, as long as they were on the winning side. Fundamentally, their visceral loathing of the now almost wholly discredited Christianity (where they seem lukewarm about real threats like Islam or China) may be competitive – that is, they are the new priests and so naturally set their sights on the old priests. They wish for power and for that they must discredit the old priesthood.

Although most people are incapable of really understanding religion or philosophy, the concepts seem to (somehow) filter into their lives. So now, whenever scientists discover that bananas cause cancer, or that cigarettes are good for the heart, etc., people accept this as they would once have accepted the priest’s sermon. This false mode of knowledge – that only the empirically observable exists, and everything else is a lie – has brutalised its subjects. For to be human is to  have an extra-material fidelity, which one could call the imagination, in Wallace Stevens’ usage (could a scientist understand anything of Stevens?).

Along with the scientific onslaught, the humanities have been destroyed by race/gender/sex apparatchiks, English traditions have been largely eradicated by Nu Labour, and the family has likewise distintegrated (assisted by appropriate legislation). So in the West there is no longer any obvious extra-material object, to which one might give one’s fidelity – the only cause now is money.  It is not surprising that the West is breeding no-good jihaddist boyos, violence, riots, destruction – for human beings require some extra-material (or “spiritual”) component, and this is no longer requitable by religion, by education, by tradition, except in highly isolated cases. Islam, while vile &  bearded, has made no compromises with its essential nature (hatred & violence & savagery), and so it continues to command considerable support. Christianity, in watering itself down for the masses, has lost everything.

Without the sacred, humanity will devolve into a state of grunting bearded savagery, as we see in Islam, and as we have recently seen in the riots. This is a curious point in history; i know of no other period where entire peoples lost faith in the reality beyond the empirical. Where gods have fallen out of favour, there have always been other gods, or mystery cults, or daimones, or the Empire, the family, the traditions of the folk. Now there is nothing and any contrived solution must appear artificial and insubstantial.

Extreme, general solutions are dangerous. i think things must change but doubtless the reaction will in its way be as bad as the problem; for this is the nature of things.