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Accept the casino

Friday, 31 May 2024 at 22:14

James II on Dr John Dunn. King James II in the 1660s by John Riley

Accept the casino

Having followed Spinoza in eliminating the freedom of creativity and imagination from men’s minds, Locke based man’s ‘freedom’ upon the ‘sanctity’ of property relations. His notion of the ‘social contract’, which guaranteed the players' club members the right to enter the casino, was in fact advanced in order to justify William of Orange’s usurpation of the British throne. James II, in effect, was charged with having denied those rights to his more speculative subjects, thus breaking the contract. What’s more, once the members were in, it was made more difficult for others to open the door. Where a mind is considered to be a tabula rasa, it can be ‘educated’ into the acceptance of a moral code to which the members in the casino do not adhere, despite appearing to do so. Passive acceptance is further guaranteed when the underlying philosophy perpetrated by that ‘education’ is a sociological one of determinism.

© John Dunn.

Sacred Streams, or the Rivers of the Bible by P. H. Gosse

Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 21:55

Sacred Streams, P. H. Gosse on Dr John Dunn. Please find below a draft entry to my cataloguing of the books by P. H. Gosse in my library. For entries to date see Gosserie.

Sacred Streams, or the Rivers of the Bible by P. H. Gosse

(Listed as 40 - 47 in P. H. Gosse: A Bibliography, by R. B. Freeman and Douglas Wertheimer.)

The second of Gosse’s books on the Bible lands.

About events in the Old and New Testaments that related to the rivers of Palestine and the neighbouring lands.

After two early British editions in 1850 (published by C. Cox), a USA edition in 1852 (published by Stringer and Townsend) and a second British 1854 edition (Cox), it reappeared over twenty years later on both sides of the Atlantic, published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, and the American Tract Society, New York.

Freeman and Wertheimer list the editions, ending with an edition from 1883, described as ‘The same. Another issue’ of the 1877 new edition revised by the author. The issue in my library is from 1883, but it is not the same.

The 1877 new revised edition is described as having a front board illustration taken from p.193, ‘Source of the Jordan’. The back board is described as having four blind rules, with no illustration, whilst the spine is described as having an illustration taken from p.143, ‘The flamingo’.

However, my 1883 edition differs from the above description in the following ways.

The front board has an illustration taken from p.297, ‘The River Arnon’. The back board has decorative plant design, contained within a central panel. The spine has an illustration taken from p.21, ‘The Euphrates’.

If the entry in the bibliography for the 1883 edition is correct, then Hodder and Stoughton must have published the same internals with two different cases, or the bibliography entry is wrong. Either way, my 1883edition is not included in the bibliography.


© John Dunn.

Locke's Spinozist understanding of man

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 22:04

Locke portrait on Dr John Dunn. Locke's Spinozist understanding of man

Locke’s position on property was intimately bound to his Spinozist understanding of man. Spinoza’s kabbalistic god as immutable Substance and ‘natural law’, which set the limit to man’s activities, led to determinism and necessitarianism. Locke developed this into his well-known concept of a human mind that is nothing more than a tabula rasa - a passive register of animal sensations. Locke wrote that the souls of the newly born are blank tablets. He asserted that thinking is only sense perception, and that the mind lacks the power ‘to invent or frame one new simple idea’.

© John Dunn.

Nominally ‘free’ trade enjoyed the protection of the state

Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 21:44

Locke, John, on Dr John Dunn. John Locke

Nominally ‘free’ trade enjoyed the protection of the state

This is where John Locke’s influence was most strong. He strongly upheld the right to hold property as a ‘right’ under a Spinozist ‘natural law’, but that this ‘right’ should be expressed through civil laws. We do not retain our right to punish the transgressors of property rights according to Locke. Instead, it is precisely our abrogation of the right to punish which is transferred to a state that makes the political realm possible.

Within the civil law, the economy became increasingly regarded as a self-governing phenomenon and the basis of liberalism. The meaning of ‘liberty’ in this sense being a Spinozist freedom from moral constraint,with no distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil. The right to punish, which was transferred to the state, made the state a guarantor of Spinozist ‘liberty’. The feigned ‘moral’ element was transferred to those who held political power. A Lockean right to property was Marrano ‘liberty’, deceitfully clothed in political ‘justice’. Nominally ‘free’ trade enjoyed the protection of the state, but not just any enthusiastic would-be entrepreneur could engage in the tea and opium trade, usury, slave trading or the founding of the Bank of England.

© John Dunn.

Spinoza's amoral universe

Sunday, 26 May 2024 at 10:15

Distorted Spinoza on Dr John Dunn. Spinoza's amoral universe

Spinoza’s god of the Lurianic Kabbalah was what he posited to be the permanent and immutable Substance, the ground of all things. The Renaissance idea that the universe could be both lawful and evolving in a constant process of perfection, was incomprehensible to him. Spinoza’s god was trapped in the same set of fixed rules in which men’s minds were trapped. Since not even God can change these fixed laws, a far less powerful mankind must live in a universe defined by these fixed relationships. It is these fixed relationships, or ‘natural law’, that set the limits to man’s activities, not moral choices of self-restraint.Such a philosophical presupposition was wholly consistent with a Spinozist socio-political outlook and can be taken as a metaphorical presentation of that outlook. In an amoral universe everyone has a ‘right’ to act deceitfully, angrily, discordantly, violently, etc. towards others, in whatever manner they see fit, as long as they are able to do so; their ‘rights’ are only limited by their ability. The holder of such a view is elevated in terms of power vis-à-vis others in society who hold to an overtly moral code of behaviour, especially when he pretends to act by that same moral code.

© John Dunn.

A motorcycle excursion into the Cotswold Hills to see the Rollright Stones and Chastleton Barrow

Saturday, 25 May 2024 at 21:09

Rollrights on Dr John Dunn. Soon to be published on my YouTube Channel

A motorcycle excursion into the Cotswold Hills to see the Rollright Stones and Chastleton Barrow

What follows is the draft spoken-word commentary to the short video. (It all serves to keep this home page fresh to Google searches!)

The video will be up and running soon, and the time will be announced first on this website.

Draft commentary

In the Cotswolds today, just about to cross a tributary of the River Evenlode, in a valley east of Little Rollright.

Hello, and welcome to the ride. As ever, it’s good to have you along.

Climbing out of the valley now, to a road running left and right, which broadly aligns with a prehistoric trackway known as the Jurassic Way (not to be confused with the new recreational footpath of the same name). The ancient trackway followed an escarpment of limestone, which stretches from the Humber Estuary all the way down to Wiltshire, and so to the stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge.

And here I am at that very ridge road, or ridgeway.

Straight on at this junction the land falls away quite steeply to the village of Long Compton.

When traffic allows however, I’m turning right along the ridgeway.

Given its prominent position his ridgeway has long been an historical demarcation line. Still today, it marks the boundary between Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.

Also on this ridgeway are landmarks of immense prehistorical importance.

And up ahead is where I pull in to take a look.

The Rollright Stones.

And of these, here is the stone circle known as the Kings Men.

This stone circle is late Neolithic, about 2,500 years BC. One of many stonecircles across Britain. It’s always presumed that they had some sort of religious significance, but no-one really knows for certain.

A stone circle on the way towards the bigger stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge might mean something.

The location affords tremendous views across the valley I’ve just crossed. And over there are more historic stones worth seeing.

It’s a short walk, about a quarter of a mile to a prehistoric burial chamber known as the Whispering Knights dolmen.

The oldest of the stones, this is early Neolithic, about 3,500 years BC, a thousand years older than the stone circle.

This burial chamber would originally have been covered with a mound of earth, long since worn and washed away.

Across the ridgeway road is the newest of the Rollrights, the King’s Stone, erected around 1,500 BC. Again the question is Why? No-one knows.

Back on the ridgeway road now, heading towards Stow-on-the-Wold.

Despite its significance since prehistoric times, it was never turnpiked, and even now remains unclassified.

Here is an old turnpike however, the Chapel on the Hill and Bourton on the Hill Turnpike of 1731, now the A44.

Sad to see the old Cross Hands pub closed there.

From this I turn on to the A436, once part of the Foss and Cross Turnpike of 1755.

Turning right now towards the village of Chastleton.

The name derives from the Old English ceastel meaning a cairn or boundary marker. Ceastelton, Chastleton

Still today this lane forms part of the boundary between Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Looking for a track now to a farm on the right.

And here it is.

I’m heading for another prehistoric site that’s marked on the OS Map, but is rarely visited.

Those trees up ahead mark the earthworks of a round structure known as Chastleton Barrow. But barrow (normally a burial mound) it is not. It’s more likely a fort.

It's certainly a large enough landmark to have been a serious boundary itself marker over the centuries.

The land is on a prominent site, a high point on the same ridgeway as the Rollright Stones.

But this is nothing like as old as the Rollrights. The fort has been dated to the Early Iron Age, which in Britain was about 800 to 400 years BC.

What this place lacks in relative age compared to the Rollrights, it gains in relative scale.

It is fortified with a single bank built of oolitic limestone and earth that encloses an area of about 3.5 acres

Standing in the centre now.

That’s where I entered the circle.

You’ll make out the banked up earth relative to the height of those old sheds.

Scanning around the circle.

It’s difficult to capture on video the extent of the earthwork that I’m now standing in.

But take my word for it, the banked earth is there. You’ll just make out the raised earthwork, now topped by mature trees.

Obviously,worn down over hundreds of years. Nevertheless the earthworks can be seen rising up behind those old sheds there, and I pass through the fortifications as I leave. And only me here to see them,

Thanks for joining me on today’s ride into pre-history. As ever it’s good to have your company here in the Cotswold Hills.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen, please like, subscribe, perhaps even share, I’ll then let you know when I’m next out and about.

For now, I’m done.


© John Dunn.

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.

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