Barfield, Ouspensky, and oh yeah, that Trump book…

I’m giving a talk next week at Rudolf Steiner House here in London on the work of Owen Barfield. Readers of A Secret History of ConsciousnessRevolutionaries of the Soul, and Lost Knowledge of the Imagination will be familiar with Barfield and how his ideas have been a central influence on my own work. I’ve talked about Barfield’s work in the context of other topics, but this will be my first talk on his life and ideas directly. I am looking forward to it and to returning to Rudolf Steiner House, where I gave a talk on Lost Knowledge  not too long ago.

I’m also giving a talk later in the month on one of my favorite writers on consciousness and esotericism, and one of the first that I read, many years ago, P.D. Ouspensky. My first biographical book was about Ouspenky, and over the years I have found myself going back to his work on a number of occasions. Last year I made a kind of pilgrimage to Virginia Water, about twenty miles outside of London, where for a time in the 1930s and ’40s, Ouspensky had his own version of Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. This will be the first talk on Ouspensky that I’ve given in quite some time. The only other one I gave was when In Search of P.D. Ouspensky was first published, in 2003. As you might expect, I am looking forward to this too. Both talks will be videoed and, gods willing, posted on You Tube.

In other news, Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trumphas finally risen. It was released in the US today – 29 May – and briefly occupied the No. 1 position at Amazon in, I’m not quite sure, magic, metaphysics, whatever genre it falls into in our increasingly classified times. (Remember when there used to be just an occult section in bookshops? Those were the days.) It’s holding on to that slot in Kindle and I don’t know how the audio book – which I’ve yet to hear – is doing. So far it’s garnered a few reviews; here are some links: Liberty Law Site, Forbesthe Faith Matters blog, and my favorite so far, Prof. Bruce Charlton’s splenetic response to the book. I have, in his words, “crossed the line”, “abandoned all” my “earlier standards of scholarship and fairness” and “joined the forces of darkness.” I have also been “corrupted” – very rapidly it seems – by “Global Elites” and have embraced their “moral inversion.” Or actually my hitherto hidden embrace of their “secular progressivism” is now clear as day.  News to me but then I never get the memos.

I can only thank Prof. Charlton for being moved enough by my book and the outrage it sparked to put his ideas into print – or pixels. I can also only say that if he thinks I am an agent of secular progressivism he has not read my previous books as attentively as he suggests. But of course in our highly polarized time, if you are not on one side you must be on the other and of course there are only two. For an idea of my take on progressive ideas, readers – and I include Prof. Charlton – may want to take a look at my article “What is Jordan B Peterson Really Saying?” in New Dawn magazine. Unfortunately the article isn’t online and I can’t disseminate hard copies. I don’t profit by it, but if you plump for a copy it may give you pause for thought next time you think of bemoaning the fact that I have been corrupted by the forces of godless globalization. If only.

Dark Star will continue to rise this week, and, I hope, for many weeks to come. I am on BBC Radio 3’s Freethinking broadcast this Thursday evening, 31 May – GMT – discussing the book with Matthew Sweet. And on Friday evening I am being interviewed for RT for their program Watching the HawksI’m not sure when this will air, but when I know, I’ll spread the word. And on 26 June I’ll be talking about the book to the Fortean Society at Conway Hall, a venue which, in its day, welcoming figures like Bertrand Russell, was most likely a veritable hotbed of secular progressivism. Drat, tarred with that brush again!

I should also mention that my online course for the CIIS on Lost Knowledge of the Imagination begins today. Something else I am looking forward to.

In the meantime, if you’d like to join me here, in my work for the forces of darkness, by all means do. Buy the book, read it, post a review, and then together we will look for a flashlight.

11 thoughts on “Barfield, Ouspensky, and oh yeah, that Trump book…

  1. Contacted Steiner house to book a ticket – was informed that you can just turn up on the night…



  2. I hope the book isn’t anti-Trump because I’m a huge fan of yours and also a Trump supporter. His ascendance to the Presidency felt genuinely magical. I’ll read it with an open mind.

    1. Hi Steve. I’m glad you’ve said you’ll read the book with an open mind. It isn’t exactly anti-Trump although I do raise some critical points. But yes, it does seem that some magic was at work…

  3. Read through the Charlton piece and the comments. One question: “sympathetic view of DT, VP, AD and that posse.” – What’s that?

    1. Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Alexander Dugin… Although I have to say that I failed to grasp exactly what it is that he didn’t like about the book. All the best, Gary

  4. I can’t praise this book highly enough – I found it absolutely gripping. A breath of fresh air and a voice of sanity and wisdom ringing like a bell over these turbulent and crazy times in which we live. If you’ve had a sense of fumbling around in the dark, trying to see ‘what’s going on’ in the world, and feeling not able to ‘get it’, you will feel a great relief as you read Lachman. His knowledge and erudition in his field are unparalleled, and he communicates his own thinking and perspectives with superb clarity, balance and sometimes irony. The value of his work as a commentator on ‘contemporary history’ is without question. All gratitude, admiration and appreciation to the author for writing such an important book. BRAVO and THANK YOU!!!

    (Copy of my review posted on, under the title “Essential reading … just stunning.”

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Dark Star Rising. Coming from a respected astrologer they are praise indeed. Who else should about the significance of stars and their rise?

  5. I have only just come across you, funny because I liked Blondie and am interested in a lot of the same figures, Steiner, Barfield, Colin Wilson.
    This Trump book, do you see it as a cautionary tale? Both in terms of a more magical way of thinking, the death of meaning, that has seemed to have a fair bit of appeal against a background of scientific materialism.
    That maybe now we need to look back at the Christian centuries, with its “in the beginning was the logos” that is there was a centrality to meaning. Barfield and Steiner seem to be thinkers who envisage a cultural extension of the Western tradition but sees the problems of the direction that Western Culture was going philosophically and theologically towards a dead world of matter.

    1. Dark Star Rising is about how imagination is a potent force in the world, capable of molding reality, and the responsibility that comes with this. It grows out of my belief that consciousness and the world ‘participate’, as Barfield puts it. All of my work is about the eclipse of meaning in the modern age and an exploration of different ways of recovering it. I’m glad you’ve come across it.

  6. Intriguing, many thanks for your response, I watched your interview with Nikita PetrovI and it was an interesting take on a bunch of material that I was partially aware of. It does strike me that Trump, the reality TV President who watches TV a tweets, does represent our collective imagination. I don’t find that a comforting thought. This won’t however be the first book of yours I read, I have just ordered your book on Steiner, whose Philosophy of Freedom I wish to create a vlog about, to try to state its central ideas as simply as possible. I’m also keen to read your book on Colin Wilson who has been quite influential on me, his book on Steiner helped me get a little perspective on Steiner, but I do think the ideas he puts on Steiner have more of a Wilson flavour about them, that you are familiar with Barfield I find reassuring as it was his work that has taken me in the closer to Steiner’s thought. Any chance of a book on Barfield in the future?
    To me it seems that Steiner and Barfield are amongst the best modern candidates for a new philosophy that can step us beyond the materialism, meaninglessness and alienation of our current culture, but at present they also seem amongst the most obscure and neglected.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s