Sunday 14 May 2023

Review of Divine Friendship (2023) - An aggregation of Arkle's analects; edited by Jon Flint

Divine Friendship: An aggregation of Arkle's analects

Edited by Jon Flint. Independently published on Amazon Kindle, 2023. 77 pages. 

Current price: 77 pence Sterling; 1 US dollar 

Jon Flint, who was a friend and collaborator of the author, has edited a short collection of William Arkle's writings on the subject of Divine Friendship; which was probably Arkle's core theme - the understanding of which can be a key to Arkle's larger philosophical ideas.

Arkle is one of a handful of authors that I regard as of primary importance in developing my attitudes and understandings of life and reality. But I am the first to acknowledge that it is difficult to grasp his meaning and significance. 

Arkle's major work was A Geography of Consciousness, 1974; republished 2019 - to which I contributed a new introduction. But GoC is a tough read in parts, with its analogies from physical science and strategy of building-up the argument from basic assumptions. 

The Great Gift of 1977 is much more accessible, with its paintings and poems; yet such is its richness of ideas and images that they are perhaps difficult to navigate and synthesize. 

Jon Flint takes the different approach of collecting a variety of forms of communication, spanning more than two decades of Arkle's later life - all focusing on the same theme.

This theme is that God the creator most desires from us his children that (eventually) we might grow-up to become mature 'friends' that can share in the divine work of creation. 

Simple to state, but easy to misunderstand! - not least because 'friend' has become such an enfeebled concept in this era of social media, and yet the English language offers no alternative better substitute.  

The collection begins with a verbal transcription taken from an informal live lecture, so we can get an idea of Arkle's conversational style; and of how he explained things person to person. 

Then there follow relevant excerpts from four of his books, the two mentioned above, plus Equations of Being; and including the entirety of his self-published pamphlet God: the Player Friend (1992); which, until now, has been almost impossible to obtain.

A further 'angle' is provided by extracts from Arkle's personal correspondence to the editor Jon Flint, written from 1986-1999. I found these very valuable - indeed, Jon Flint has previously allowed me to read a much larger selection from this correspondence; which is so good that I have read it at least four times through, already! 

I hope that, at some point, this more-complete correspondence between Arkle and Flint might be published in its own right; but in the meantime Arkle's admirers will welcome this 'taster'; and indeed the volume as a whole. 

Nowhere else could you obtain so much spiritual nourishment for less than the price of a bar of chocolate!