During The Miner's Strike and just before The Brighton Bomb I entered The Essex University Social Science faculty to study a Philosophy and Government degree. I had left my school sixth form with the school literature prize under my belt and felt confident that I would enjoy stretching my wings over a wider syllabus (digressing only somewhat I would add that the access to a wider syllabus at all levels in education that has occurred since has been perhaps the only good thing to happen to our education system in the last 25 years).
My first essay on politics concerned itself with the practicalities of an anarchist society (and it's creation). Arguing the need for an evolution of consciousness, rather than a revolution of peoples, I made use of some of the thought of Catholic theologian Teilhard De Chardin (and a book by Marilyn Ferguson called "The Aquarian Conspiracy" amongst others). The tutor concerned (no names no pack-drill) having given me a low "A" grade of 74% marked the essay down for my mention of Teilhard's ideas saying "it sounds like being invaded by "The Tripods!"" ( a "War of the World's" type science fiction series then being screened by the B.B.C).
Now I should have run to the philosophy dept. screaming "rape" but I was a "freshman" and took his patronising Stalinism to be indicative of the attitude of the department (and University), to this day I don't think I was far wrong.
Interestingly perhaps (for some)* the very last book I read before I left 18 months later was Robert Persig's famous assault on modern academic philosophical thought "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
What I find particularly irritating however is this; if I had made more extensive use of (having read more of -at the time-); E.F Schumacher, James Lovelock or any of the more modern (although I don't think he liked Ferguson either frankly) "Gaian" (one hesitates to say "Protestant") philosophers would "Tanky Boy" have shown me "The Red Card" so early?
* ..and perhaps more interestingly I had been awarded "Wilsons'" 6th Form Literature prize for a long essay on Malcolm Bradbury's "The History Man" (which I had appreciated as "social-history" of-course), I had no idea Howard Kirk was going to be my first tutor!
"Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a visionary French Jesuit, paleontologist, biologist, and philosopher, who spent the bulk of his life trying to integrate religious experience with natural science, most specifically Christian theology with theories of evolution. In this endeavour he became absolutely enthralled with the possibilities for humankind, which he saw as heading for an exciting convergence of systems, an "Omega point" where the coalescence of consciousness will lead us to a new state of peace and planetary unity. Long before ecology was fashionable, he saw this unity he saw as being based intrinsically upon the spirit of the Earth:
"The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth."
Teilhard de Chardin passed away a full ten years before James Lovelock ever proposed the "Gaia Hypothesis" which suggests that the Earth is actually a living being, a colossal biological super-system. Yet Chardin's writings clearly reflect the sense of the Earth as having its own autonomous personality, and being the prime centre and director of our future -- a strange attractor, if you will -- that will be the guiding force for the synthesis of humankind.
"The phrase 'Sense of the Earth' should be understood to mean the passionate concern for our common destiny which draws the thinking part of life ever further onward. The only truly natural and real human unity is the spirit of the Earth. . . .The sense of Earth is the irresistible pressure which will come at the right moment to unite them (humankind) in a common passion.
"We have reached a crossroads in human evolution where the only road which leads forward is towards a common passion. . . To continue to place our hopes in a social order achieved by external violence would simply amount to our giving up all hope of carrying the Spirit of the Earth to its limits."
To this end, he suggested that the Earth in its evolutionary unfolding, was growing a new organ of consciousness, called the noosphere. The noosphere is analogous on a planetary level to the evolution of the cerebral cortex in humans. The noosphere is a "planetary thinking network" -- an interlinked system of consciousness and information, a global net of self-awareness, instantaneous feedback, and planetary communication. At the time of his writing, computers of any merit were the size of a city block, and the Internet was, if anything, an element of speculative science fiction. Yet this evolution is indeed coming to pass, and with a rapidity, that in Gaia time, is but a mere passage of seconds. In these precious moments, the planet is developing her cerebral cortex, and emerging into self-conscious awakening. We are indeed approaching the Omega point that Teilhard de Chardin was so excited about.
This convergence however, though it was predicted to occur through a global information network, was not a convergence of merely minds or bodies -- but of heart, a point that he made most fervently.".....
from... www.gaiamind.org an article by Anodea Judith
"I would rather burn Capitalism over a slow fire than make a "St.Bartholemew's Night" of it's perpetrators." Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Quote..."Can you have a Roman Catholic Prime Minister of Great Britain?!...
"There is no simple yes or no question to this answer. While there is no express legal bar the election of a non-Anglican British Prime Minister, such a situation would be constitutionally awkward given the prime minister's role in appointing senior members of the Church of England. While theoretically, the sovereign has the ultimate power in making ecclesiastical appointments, he or she acts on the advice of the prime minister.
Under the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829, sect. 17, and the Jews' Relief Act of 1858, sec 4, no Roman Catholic or Jew may advise the sovereign on ecclesiastical matters. Were the prime minister to be a Roman Catholic or a Jew an alternate system of ecclesiastical appointment would have to be devised.
To date, all British Prime Ministers to date, at least while in office, have professed Anglican faith. Disraeli, while born into a jewish family, was baptised into the church of England at age 12 and Tony Blair waited till after he stood down from the post of prime minister to officially convert to catholicism.
Gordon Brown does not 'profess the Anglican faith'. His father was a Church of Scotland minister. It is unlikely that any other non-English Prime Minister would be an Anglican (e.g. Alec Douglas-Hume, Ramsey Macdonald)."
From.. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_you_have_a_Roman_Catholic_Prime_Minister_of_Great_Britain "
Quote: "Utilising historical evidence of environmental, ecological and sociological change and comparing the resulting information to epidemiological evidence of the density of (and disease frequency within), the coincident human population convinces one that "civilisation" has had very little to do with human evolution.
It seems that "civilisation" is a function of the human evolutionary process not the process itself* Food production has always been the controlling factor in human society, the "geegaws" of the civilised world serve only to occlude our basic dependency on our environment. "Decentralisation" (very "uncivilised" as a philosophy), maintains that all human beings deserve access to proper "Lebensraum" and that none should be forced into uncomfortable, unhealthy or over-populated living conditions. "Democracy" may have developed it's popularity within civic society but the concept does not "belong" to civilisation anymore than a child does to it's parents." Posted by sandtrout 2010.
*I've revised these comments since, quote: "
....... "Utilising historical evidence of environmental, ecological and sociological change and comparing the resulting information to epidemiological evidence of the density of (and disease frequency within), the coincident human population convinces one that "civilisation" has had very little to do with human evolution. This does not mean that (to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi), "civilisation would (not), be a good idea", in The West (or anywhere else), if it was practised given the understanding that the notion is not the "be all and end all" of political, sociological or cultural evolution.* It seems that civilisation is a function of the human evolutionary process not the process itself. Food production has always been the controlling factor in human society, the gee-gaws of the civilised world serve only to occlude our basic dependency on our environment. Decentralisation (very uncivilised as a philosophy), maintains that all human beings deserve access to proper "Lebensraum" and that none should be forced into uncomfortable, unhealthy or over-populated living conditions. "Democracy"** may have developed it's popularity within civic society but the concept does not belong to civilisation anymore than a child does to it's parents.".....
*"The call us civilised because we're easy to sneak up on" Lone Watie in "The Outlaw Josey Wales":"
(Edit 05/06/2011 The above is not however a "green-light" for Khaos, for as with emergent economic theory -see: "Emergence Theory"-, demos is seen as developing from the individual into the social. A tree does not grow by the canopy imposing it's will on the roots -without nutrients the tree will die-.
It was inevitable that the dominance of carcinogenic monocultural systems would lead to the development of the ugly tumours we call "Megacities" -which are an indication of the terminal decline (not health), of "Civilisation"-)
" http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2011/02/23/from-the-archive-frontier-life-in-the-west/2713/ "... Posted by pete f .....
"There's an argument that America's been monetarist ("the pursuit of happiness"), since it's inception and consequently does not exist as a society, still we "endeavour to persevere"." Posted by sandtrout 2010. From eponymous thread on Media Lens message board.
Another Media Lens message board thread ("Is Britain to Blame for Many of The World's Problems?", go to http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1302196820.html ),
"mirrors" the theme discussing the legacy of empires with regard to the ongoing paroxysm in The Middle East.
"Is Britain to blame for many of the world's problems?
David Cameron has suggested that Britain and the legacy of its empire was responsible for many of the world's historic problems. But is that view fair?
Answering questions from students in Pakistan on Tuesday, the prime minister said: "As with so many of the problems of the world, we are responsible for their creation in the first place."
Here two historians give their view.
Nick Lloyd, lecturer in defence studies, King's College London
Mr Cameron's remarks about the painful legacy of colonialism could not be further from the truth and they reveal a disappointing lack of historical judgement. The British Empire in India, known as the Raj, was the greatest experiment in paternalistic imperial government in history.
By the time the British left India in 1947 they had given the subcontinent a number of priceless assets, including the English language, but also a structure of good government, local organisation and logistical infrastructure that still holds good today. Far from damaging India, British imperial rule gave it a head start.
At the centre of this was the Indian Civil Service, the 1,000 strong "heaven-born" group of administrators that ran the country. Their role in laying the foundations for strong, efficient government in India has never been accorded the respect and admiration it deserves.
While history has recorded that the ICS were aloof and disdainful of the "natives", in reality, the men who ran India were selfless, efficient and - most importantly of all - completely incorruptible.
Not only did they oversee the spread of good government, western education, modern medicine and the rule of law, they also put in place local works, famine relief, and irrigation projects, most notably in the Punjab, which benefited enormously from what was then the largest irrigation project in the world.
Perhaps the most priceless asset of all was the English language itself, which gave a unity to the subcontinent that it had never known before and which is allowing India's people to do business around the world today with great success.
Indeed, it is indicative of this that in February 2011, a Dalit (formerly untouchable) community in Uttar Pradesh built a shrine to the goddess English, which they believe will help them learn the English language and climb out of their grinding poverty.
Although Britain was not able to replicate its success in India everywhere across its vast colonial empire, it is still clear the empire gave its colonies real, tangible benefits. Wherever the British ruled, they erected a light, relatively inexpensive form of government that was not corrupt, was stable, and was favourable to outside investors.
Its imperial civil servants may not always have been completely sympathetic to local peoples, but they were always motivated by humanitarian impulses and did their best in often difficult circumstances. Indeed, when we look at Africa, many of the benefits of imperial rule were squandered in the generations after independence with a succession of corrupt and brutal regimes.
Dr Nick Lloyd is the author of the forthcoming book The Amritsar Massacre: The Untold Story of One Fateful Day
Andrew Thompson, professor of imperial and global history, University of Leeds
Does Britain's colonial legacy still poison its relations with Africa, the Middle East and Asia? Mr Cameron's remark raises important questions for society about how we relate to history.
There's the inheritance of colonial violence. What you saw in the later stages of empire was a series of British counter-insurgency operations, exported from one hot spot to another. In places such as Kenya, Palestine, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, and of course Northern Ireland, the British were forced to resort to repressive legal and military measures in what was to prove an ultimately vain attempt to curb the tide of political unrest and nationalist opposition.
Detention without trial, beatings, torture, and killings punctuated the twilight years of colonial rule. The disclosure this week of a large tranche of Foreign Office files, hitherto kept secret about full extent of British brutality against Mau Mau in Kenya, suggests there may be further revelations still to come. Will there be similar stories and claims from Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus or Nigeria?
There is also the question of whether the violence that characterised these counter-insurgency operations during decolonisation then set the scene for the way in which independent, post-colonial African and Asian governments dealt with political dissent from their own peoples.
The imperial past is far from being dead. On the contrary it is actually very much part of contemporary politics.
Perhaps we should not be surprised then when British foreign policy interests and interventions today are seen and perceived as "neo-colonial" in their nature.
The reaction of Iran in 2007 when 15 Royal Navy personnel were seized is instructive here. As heavy-handed as it may have seemed to people in Britain, it needs to be understood in the wider context of Iranian sensitivities over the presence of any western powers in or near its territorial waters - sensitivities arising in part from a very fraught and fragile 20th Century relationship over oil and territory.
In a deeper and more fundamental sense still, Britain's colonial legacy can be seen in the ways in which globalisation is being experienced today. From the 1870s onwards, the integration of labour, capital and commodity markets promoted by empire was very much skewed towards its "white" settler societies.
The economic benefits of empire for the so-called dependent colonies were much more meagre in comparison or did not exist at all. When we find critics of globalisation questioning whether economic integration and cultural diversity can comfortably co-exist, we should remember that for much of the last century the form of globalisation the world experienced rested on a view of social relations governed by racial hierarchies.
Finally, we might reverse the colonial encounter and think about how empire has left an imprint on British society. Despite its multi-ethnic empire, Britain did not embrace ethnic diversity at home.
There was the rhetoric of an inclusive imperial citizenship for the peoples of all Commonwealth countries. But in reality in post-war Britain there was little desire to promote integration for immigrants from the likes of the West Indies and the Indian subcontinent.
The consequences are perhaps reflected in experiences today, especially in terms of the so-called ethnic penalty many of these communities face in education, employment or housing.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12992540 " Posted by spike.
"I have met people from all round the world and it is very clear to me that not only are the British the most ill-educated people (about their own history) on Earth, but also that they are the people that, by a very long way, have done the least to face up to their own Imperial history. Even the Americans have an idea, nowadays, that slavery and the extermination of the indigenous inhabitants, was wrong. The British, sorry the English, have almost literally no clue. When they hear a Scottish nationalist, a Welsh Nationalist, or an Irish Republican talking, they have almost no concept what they are talking about, because they know nothing of the historical facts. Some British (not many) are aware that some sort of injustice was done to India at some point in the past for some reason. But as for the broader pattern of Imperial violence, that affected almost every country on Earth in some way or other: the English almost literally have no knowledge of it. And so when Cameron makes his (duplicitous and insincere, but accurate) comments, he might as well be talking in Chinese as far as most English people (especially in the South) are aware." Posted by Hidari.
"Imagine I had written the bile you just did accusing huge swathes of people in national or ethnic groupings of various derogatory things and now imagine you swap "english" for "black" or "arab" or "jew" and see it for the bile it is.
Labelling all the english and blaming them for everything is one of the last acceptable acts of bigotry. Particularly by the self righteous prigs on this message board.. Sad..." Posted by George_HK.
Have you looked up the history of the British in India for example, George?
Have you read how the famines for example, were worsened by British Imperial policy?
Do you in fact exemplify what Hidari is actualy saying?" Posted by Ken Waldron.
"When the Raj starved people it was an act of god but when Ukranians and others starved in the USSR it was a terror famine. When the IMF starves people by forcing farmers to grow cash crops like tobacco instead of food it's prudent economics." Posted by Keith-264.
"The constant need to justify Britain's actions in other countries should be reason enough for one to question the nature of all imperialistic enterprise, without an understanding of so called "ancient" Brythonic culture though one is left "without a leg to stand on".
The reason that sub-continental (and "dark-continental"), "Uncle Toms" kow-tow to Britain is the same reason The British kow-tow to The Romans, shame.
In oppressed cultures the incidence of; homophobia, misogyny, domestic violence and violence to all "sub-group" minorities within the subjugated culture invariably increases.
This cultural void is maintained in Britain behind a "paper-curtain" of political pragmatism that allows a sectarian parliament to sit for an un-constituted monarch. " posted by sandtrout 2010.
(..and to kow-tow to Western Imperialism is never a good idea -is it guys?-)
N.B Own work subject to minor editing at author's discretion, all other posts as posted by board members (also note; editing facility not available for posts to The Media Lens Message Board).
"What Hope Britannia?"
Go to "A "Coalition of the Willing"?" http://medialens.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3083
""Quiet Riots" and Oppressed Races.
D.Cameron would rather parade his "Uncle Toms" than address the issue of our cultural decline. As someone from an Anglo-Catholic background it annoys me to see those from other countries "Taking "The Queen's Shilling"" on the basis that, "we were oppressed before but now Mother Britannia suckles us" (or is that "clasps us like serpents to her breast"?). In any case as a Jamaican friend of mine (who is currently residing in a Medium-Secure Mental Health Institution), points out to me time and time again, "it was those West African b*****ds that sold us into slavery!".
We collude in rape, child-mutilation and nepotism (to name but a few), and prostitute our own culture when we grease the sticky palm of the "formerly culturally oppressed"." From eponymous message on MediaLens Message Board posted by sandtrout2010.
Quote: "The Travelling Community has been and is being relentlessly oppressed in Britain (across-the-board since 1985, "Dale Farm" represents "the-last-stand" against the ethnic-cleansing which has been taking place since that time). It has taken The United Nations to point out just how genocidal The British State has become (these things are not merely coincidental, as we project abroad so we are at home). Many from previous generations felt validated in fighting the last war because we were (supposedly), opposed to such tyranny! Go to http://dalefarm.wordpress.com/ " From "Is there Room for Gypsies in Modern Britain" Countryfile Forum, go to http://www.countryfile.com/forum/is-there-room-for-gypsies-in-modern-britain-t504.html
Quote: "Welcome to the 21st century.
The future hasn’t worked out quite the way the grown-ups said it would…
We find ourselves in a world of economic contraction, ecological collapse and social upheaval. How do we make sense of our lives in times like this? Where are the stories – old or new – that help us reground ourselves? Faced with the loss of much we took for granted, where are the practical projects that offer hope and meaning for the times ahead?
Uncivilisation 2012 is a gathering of people searching for answers to these questions. For one weekend in August, the woods and chalk downland of the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire will be home to a festival of literature, music, art and action..." Go to http://www.uncivilisation.co.uk/ "