Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Whit Blauvelt

    December 27, 2023 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Peter! Thanks for enlarging the discussion. As for feudalism, The Dawn of Everything, which I previously recommended here, presents abundant evidence that there have (pre)historically been many diverse forms of human society, from highly hierarchical (such as feudal, and the Native Americans of the Northwest) to staunchly egalitarian (such as the Native Americans of what’s now central and southern California).

    There are strong cross-currents in the telling, too. For instance, the Magna Carta is regarded by some historians as an egalitarian move, while others point out that it only elevated the barons relative to the king, at a time when much of the population felt the king had their interests more in heart than the barons did. In our current context, McGilchrist can’t say anything good about the Puritans, while at the same time venerating Thoreau, whose Walden Pond was provided by Emerson, himself from a long line of Emersons, all Puritan preachers — the Unitarian Universalism of Emerson’s ordination being one branch of the Puritan movement whose other major branch then was Congregationalism.

    So if McGilchrist is fair in characterizing the Puritans as LH at least in their origin, we should at least find hope in their evident progress into Thoreau and Emerson’s New England Transcendentalism, which McGilchrist it would seem takes as clearly RH in orientation. Where Cromwell’s Puritans had stripped the saints’ statues out of the churches and closed down the theaters, their Unitarian descendants two centuries later welcomed spiritual wisdoms from the broadest world-wide sources, for instance with Emerson writing a poem celebrating Brahma. How might we help our current narrow-minded, culture-denying “evangelical Christians,” with their political desire for authoritarian, feudal rule, towards a similar evolution?

    Hopefully McGilchrist’s upcoming engagement at Hillsdale College, a stronghold of modern Cromwellians seeking to overturn the social order confident in their own divine appointment, is a desire on Iain’s part to move them towards RH transcendental openness, rather than reinforce their longing for a feudal America under “Christian” dominion, in which our modern echoes of Elizabethan theater may also be shuttered, and only passion plays staged.

    Might we discover that there are diverse RH-favoring societies, with both authoritarian and egalitarian societies in RH-leaning and LH-leaning forms?