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Erasmus, Thomas More and John Colet

Sunday, 28 January 2018 at 19:13

Thomas More on Dr John Dunn. The cultural environment nurtured under Henry VII enabled the circle of scholars associated with Erasmus of Rotterdam to flourish. Erasmus, Thomas More (pictured) and John Colet looked to education as an Eleusian way to freedom, tantamount to a transfiguration, recalling Dante’s declaration that the truly free individual possesses crown and mitre over himself, i.e. the power of mind over which no secular or clerical authority can rule. These Renaissance thinkers saw the possibility of transforming citizens into the equivalent of Plato’s ‘philosopher kings’. This idea was expressed by Erasmus two years after his arrival in England in 1499, when his Handbook of the Militant Christian was published. Like Dante and others in the conspiracy of intelligence, Erasmus argued for the rejection of Aristotelian sense certainty, ‘the poison of representation’ described by Dante in Canto IV of Paradise, turning instead to Plato for inspiration.

In man, reason discharges the office of king... Consider the dregs of the lower classes to be those affections or passions that dissent as much as possible from the decrees of reason and that are least humble. These are lust, lechery, envy, and similar diseases of the mind, which we ought to resist as overseers restrain dirty, vile slaves so as to ensure that they perform the tasks assigned them by the master, or, at least, so as to prevent them from doing harm. The divinely inspired Plato wrote of all these things in his Timaeus.

Thomas More developed this theme in Utopia, in which he argued that to become Platonic ‘philosopher kings’, all the nation’s citizens would have to be schooled, for it was ‘impossible to do all things well unless all men are good’.

© John Dunn.

Breaking the alliance

Thursday, 25 January 2018 at 20:42

Longshanks on Dr John Dunn. Edward I went so far as to break this alliance by expelling the Jews from England in 1290, anticipating the action taken in Renaissance Spain by over 200 years. John Dunn writes on exploits. EdwardI’s exploits against the Welsh and the Scots are also to be understood as an attack upon one other element of the tripartite alliance. These wars have been subject to a retrospective historical distortion of the truth. They were not wars between nations; after all the concept of the nation state barely existed. Rather, Longshanks was fighting feudal warlords on the edges of his kingdom. ‘Scottish’ kings, such as John Balliol and Robert the Bruce, were not Scots as we might recognise them today. They were French speaking nobles and related to Edward himself. Like Edward, they would have much preferred to have been fighting in the Middle East on Crusade. Robert the Bruce had great landholdings deep into Yorkshire and John Balliol even endowed an Oxford College.

© John Dunn.

Whose Carta?

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 at 21:51

King John on Dr John Dunn.

King John

Magna Carta, that supposed written bastion of individual freedom, epitomised the power of the nobility to maintain its feudal privileges, even in the face of fierce opposition from the king. John Dunn revisits the king. In response to King John’s brave attempt to assert the authority of the monarch, the feudal barons enforced Magna Carta upon him, which was a charter establishing the rights of the nobility against the efforts of the king to rule a unified nation. The document, for example, guaranteed that the king would not force the nobles to carry out infrastructural improvements, such as constructing bridges. It prohibited the king from controlling trade and imposing tariffs. In short, it was an ultra-feudalist charter to prevent the king from breaking the proto-oligarchical alliance of nobles and money traffickers.

© John Dunn.

Simple ray of light

Friday, 19 January 2018 at 20:11

The pseudo-Dionysius’ picture on Dr John Dunn.

The pseudo-Dionysius’ return to God was in many respects an epistemological analysis of Gregory of Nyssa’s metaphorical portrayal of ecstasy, as thebride’s return to her lover. As so often in this Platonic underground, transfigurative light was the metaphor of choice. Thus Dionysius states in The Celestial Hierarchy:

We must lift up the immaterial and steady eyes of our minds to that outpouring of Light which is so primal, indeed much more so, and which comes from that source of divinity, I mean the Father. This is the Light which, by way of representative symbols, makes known to us the most blessed hierarchies among the angels. But we need to rise from this outpouring of illumination so as to come to the simple ray of Light itself.

That ‘simple ray of light’, the metaphorical embodiment of epoptika, will be in sight when all interpretive concepts have been abandoned through their ‘unknowing’.

It is in a state of ‘unknowing’ that the experience of silent union with the divine occurs. In The Mystical Theology, Dionysius provided an apt description, which reminds us of the epistemological struggle that Dante would later face in his poetry. we plunge into that darkness which is beyond intellect, we shall find ourselves not simply running short of words but actually speechless and unknowing.

Throughout The Divine Names and The Mystical Theology Dionysius expanded all conceptions of God beyond any contingencies. What we find in the text is not the description of an image or sense of God that may be thought of as a thing or experience amongst others, which would be nothing other than Jehovianism. Dionysius bursts through this limitation in an expansion of all images of the inscrutable One to a point beyond conception, out of the reach of every rational process. This was an exploration of the divinity of man to be found internally, in the act of imagination, as Dante was later to find.

The work of John Scotus Eriugena served as the primary channel of Dionysian thought, through his translations and appropriation of its content into a philosophical system.

© John Dunn.

Ezra Pound on slavery

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 at 21:03

Ezra Pound by Gaudier on Dr John Dunn.

Ezra Pound by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Quoted by John Dunn from Ezra Pound's America, Roosevelt and the causes of the present war (1944)

Usurocracy, defeated by the operations of Jackson and Van Buren, next directed its beam of obfuscation onto the question of negro slavery, or “chattel slavery,” as it was called. The dramatic and sentimental possibilities of this problem were far superior to those immediately visible in the bank struggle.

During the pre-war phase the debates in Congress reveal an extremely penetrating perception on the part of the more intelligent members. But after Lincoln’s death discussions lost much of their clarity. The indebtedness of the South to the City of New York took second place. The subject lost its news value.

Usurocracy had discovered that the slave-owning system was less profitable than that of “free” labour. Anyone who possessed a slave had to keep him alive and in a fit condition to work. This cost more than “free” labour, in respect of which, under the capitalist system, the employer had no responsibility whatsoever. The defeat of the slave owners was already determined, predetermined.

Posted by John Dunn.


Wednesday, 3 January 2018 at 20:49

Marx mask on Dr John Dunn. Marxism is but symptomatic. The fact is that the Counter-Renaissance was victorious. The myth of progress to capitalism continues to hide a return to feudalism, i.e. the neo-feudalism of our time.

This was the victory of Spinozism that exists today as Marrano universalism, hidden under the Marxian mask of capitalism. What we have now is a crypto-capitalism, with the political objective of global unity serving a financial objective of the free and unrestricted movement of money - an echo of the borderless pre-Renaissance chaos that was congenial to the economic success of Spinoza’s forebears.

Under this crypto-capitalism, the global economic surplus is channelled through central banks, with global indebtedness and the concomitant central bank lending secured against the enforced taxation of whole populations.

It is the call for ‘no countries’, ‘no borders’, that brings the anarchist, Marxist and financier together as promoters of tikkun, the great repair, the return to Ein Sof, from the state of fragmentation symbolised in the shattered vessels of Luria’s Kabbalah.

© John Dunn.

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