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Our own image in the divine

Friday, 24 May 2024 at 22:42

Image by Flaxman on Dr John Dunn. Our image in the Divine as represented by John Flaxman

Our own image in the divine

Metaphors abound as Dante achieves the goal of his pilgrimage and sees the highest light, which in itself is the Truth. Language does not have the power to convey what he had seen. He struggles to hold the vision in his mind, as ‘the snow loses its shape in the sun’ or ‘the oracles of the Sibyl, on the light leaves, were lost in the wind’. He prays for the power to tell future generations of the glory he has seen. Leave me even‘a single spark of your glory’ he pleads, a gleam that will outshine the shadows of the cave that pass for truth on earth. The future will understand and see beyond appearances. That is Dante’s hope and, as if to make sure, he expands upon what he saw.

The light was adorned with ‘our image’. He sees our own image in the divine, not ‘my’ likeness, the common likeness.

© John Dunn.

Uniquely endowed

Thursday, 23 May 2024 at 22:28

It's Dante on Dr John Dunn. Dante

Uniquely endowed

Recalling Purgatory XVII we remember that Dante asked - what moves the imagination when the senses offer nothing? ‘A light which takes its shape in heaven moves you’, he answers. With the imagination, man is of all animals uniquely endowed to imagine, look forward, contemplate new futures and, above all, hope. Dante had already made clear what was in store for those who lived less than fully human lives.

‘Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate’, ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’

© John Dunn.

A 'Republick of Merchants'

Wednesday, 22 May 2024 at 22:23

Sarpi's portrait on Dr John Dunn. A 'Republick of Merchants'

Post-1688 Britain might have been nominally a kingdom, but in reality it became a 'Republick of Merchants' and its head of state was not a king but, as Disraeli pointed out, really a doge. The sovereign might be allowed absolute power, as long as the economic interests of the ‘Whig Magnificoes’ were not interfered with. The Liberal system of government,economy, and social philosophy was the offspring of the oligarchy-ruled Venice of Sarpi’s time. The Venetian model had transferred to the two maritime powers best placed to exploit the trading opportunities in America and Asia - the Netherlands of Spinoza and the England of John Locke. The crucial feature of the Anglo-Dutch liberal model was the independence from national government, elected or otherwise, enjoyed by a privately controlled central banking system.

© John Dunn.

George III tried not to be a Doge

Tuesday, 21 May 2024 at 22:10

George III on Dr John Dunn. George III

George III tried not to be a Doge

Spinoza and Locke proceeded towards republican political theory based on equal natural rights. However, we must not think of these republican ideas as Utopias of universal suffrage. What Spinoza, followed by Locke, had theorised was Sarpi’s 'Republick of Merchants’. As in Sarpi’s Venice, the consensus of the community was that of a small clique of property-owning oligarchs. Their rejection of absolute monarchy was in fact a Counter-Renaissance opposition to any form of sovereign national rule over the economic sphere. The 1688 Dutch invasion of England, or Glorious Revolution as it was dubbed by the financial beneficiaries, established a Sarpian ‘Republick of Merchants’ on English soil, as Venetian and Dutch commercial and banking interests transferred to London. The Anglo-Dutch model of oligarchical rule was established, with the formerly centralising authority of the King transformed into the nominal authority of a Venetian-style Doge.

In his novel Coningsby,Disraeli wrote: ‘The great object of Whig leaders in England, from the first movement under Hampden to the last most successful one in 1688, was to establish in England a high aristocratic republic on the model of the Venetian....William the Third told ...Whig leaders, “I will not be a Doge” ...They brought in a new family on their own terms. George I was a Doge; George II was a Doge....George III tried not to be a Doge....He might try to get rid of the Whig Magnificoes, but he could not rid himself of the Venetian constitution.’

© John Dunn.

Collaborator

Monday, 20 May 2024 at 22:14

John Locke philosopher on Dr John Dunn. John Locke

Collaborator

During his exile in Amsterdam, Locke would have been receptive to the ‘Counter-Renaissance’ ideas of Spinoza. The philosopher and novelist Rebecca Goldstein argues that during his five years in Holland, Locke chose his friends ‘from among the same freethinking members of dissenting Protestant groups as Spinoza's small group of loyal confidants’. Spinoza had died in 1677, but Locke almost certainly met men in Amsterdam who spoke of the author of the Ethics, whose ideas were compatible with the expansionist ambitions of a commercial oligarchy. Locke accompanied William of Orange's wife back to England in 1688, a high profile indication of his collaborationist role in the build-up to the invasion.

© John Dunn.

John Locke

Sunday, 19 May 2024 at 21:07

John Locke on Dr John Dunn. John Locke

Born in the same year as Spinoza (1632), John Locke was employed by Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, who as a founder of the Whig movement exerted great influence on Locke's political ideas. Shaftesbury was a prominent conspirator in the failed Rye House plot, an assassination attempt upon Charles II and the future James II, which aimed to sweep away the barriers to an oligarchical takeover of government. Locke fled to the Netherlands in 1683, under strong suspicion of involvement. It is highly likely that from this point on at least, Locke was one of the leading collaborators with the Dutch backers of the 1688 invasion.

© John Dunn.

Crushing of difference and humanness

Saturday, 18 May 2024 at 21:12

Ein Sof Spinoza on Dr John Dunn. Crushing of difference and humanness

Spinoza’s self-caused God, or Substance, is incompatible with the freedom of the will. Not surprisingly, both Sarpi and Spinoza feared democracy. ‘Just keep the masses cheaply fed’, insisted Sarpi, whose words probably applied to ideas, as well as food. The politicised seculariser of Kabbalah, who saw the unity or monism of all things, also espoused the unity and oneness of leadership. Spinoza’s intolerance, which resulted from his monism, was wholly compatible with a crushing of difference and humanness into a 1 = 1 sameness. In a Spinozist world, the sovereign alone would have the right to determine not only the state’s laws but also religious law:

It is the duty of the sovereign alone to decide what is necessary for the welfare of the entire people and the security of the state, and to command what it judges to be thus necessary, it follows that it is also the duty of the sovereign alone to decide what form piety towards one’s neighbour should take, that is in what way every man is required to obey God. From this we clearly understand in what way the sovereign is the interpreter of religion.

If Kabbalism, Spinozism and Freemasonry were the key components of the dehumanising process, then the ‘Republick of Merchants’, in which all opposition is viewed with hostility as a state within a state, was the desired outcome. Thus were the goals of the secularised Tikkun and the rise of the ‘Republick of Merchants’ inseparably linked.

© John Dunn.

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