Friday, 19 August 2016

The destiny of England

The English people have a destiny - that much seems clear; and the English diaspora in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa presumably inherit it.

England has been recognized as a favoured nation since at least the Roman era - this fact is extensively recorded. But why? Presumably because of that destiny - which became manifest with the industrial revolution, beginning to wind-up from around the middle of the 1700s and leading to the biggest change in the human condition since the invention of agriculture which is lost in pre-history.

So there was the industrial revolution and at the same time there was Romanticism - Coleridge, Blake, Wordsworth - which is usually seen as a reaction against the associated materialism, scientism, rationalism, urbanization and the rest of it. But Romanticism was not a reaction - it was part of the same movement of thought - the same evolution of consciousness.

What was meant to happen was that Romanticism was supposed to be the future, not a reaction; was supposed to be made possible by the Industrial Revolution - not fight against it. The English were favoured not for their own good but because they had a job to do - a job not for themselves, or for their own benefit, but for Mankind.

Because Romanticism was - or should have been - the healing of the alienation of Man from nature, of mind from matter, the reunification of the inner life with the outer world, of subjective and objective - which had reached completeness with the Age of Reason and the agonies of the French revolution.

The way that this could be done was perceived, - albeit dimly and in fragments, by the prophecies of Blake, the polymathic genius of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in collaboration with his great friend Wordsworth...

But the English failed in their destiny.

Romanticism broke up into fragments in opposition to Enlightenment, Reason, Industry and the like - so from the late 18th through the 19th century England hosted the pacifism of the Quakers, the abolitionism of the Clapham Sect, the sexual liberation/ license epitomized by the glamorous figure of Byron, the atheism of Shelley, the revolutionary communism of Marx and Engels, the scientistic metaphysics of Darwin, the reactionary revolution of the Anglican Tractarians, and nationally the glories of invention, technology, conquest and Empire and so forth...

In sum, a hotbed of innovation and exploration and achievement - of revolution - in multiple fields but not the one thing needful. That was steadfastly, repeatedly refused.

After a century came payback - with the decline of Christian faith. the horrors of World War One, then Two - loss of Empire, loss of vitality and confidence, loss of fertility, a mood of self-hatred and now the national suicide of reverse colonization.

What to do? The answer is - what should have been done 200 years ago - to restore Christianity as the focus and frame of life and immediately move ahead with the project of transforming consciousness that was set out by Coleridge and most recently revived and reiterated by Owen Barfield and imagined by the likes of JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and other Inklings...

To move beyond the split between purposeless rationality and pointless instinct into making conscious of everything, sensory and supersensible, the synthesis of all aspects of life and the world in a human thinking which uses all the resources of Man: including imagination, inspiration and intuition.

The task is for everyone, but perhaps most of all for the English - whose historical destiny it was to pioneer this metamorphosis of mind. We have been refusing repeatedly and vehemently this destiny for two centuries and doing anything-but what must be done - but anyone may choose to embrace the task today. 


William Wildblood said...

It seems to me that there are two Englands, a material and a spiritual and the latter is constantly trying to break through but constantly thwarted whether by the forces of greed and ignorance or by certain powers antagonistic to spiritual awakening. Let's hope Bruce's new blog helps encourage all those who sense the vision but are uncertain how to make it come to be.
England I am sure does have a spiritual mission and I like the way that Bruce widens the idea of England to include all those who might respond sympathetically to the idea of England wherever they are located. I believe that if you feel the truth of this then you are part of it.

This destiny must be linked to Christianity which is why the rumours of Christ having walked these shores strike such a powerful chord for so many. But it may be a Christianity of the Holy Spirit which has never so far been fully expressed and which includes the sense of an inner Christ as well as acknowledging the full reality of Christ as the son of God as conventionally understood.

I think this new blog is a wonderful idea which can surely play a good part in awakening the sleeping Albion!

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Thank you.

Samson J. said...

The English were favoured not for their own good but because they had a job to do - a job not for themselves, or for their own benefit, but for Mankind.

Essentially like the Jews in the Old Testament (a point often not understood).

I like the way that Bruce widens the idea of England to include all those who might respond sympathetically to the idea of England wherever they are located.

As a New-World descendant of Albion (Albion's seed, as it were!) I'm happy to be part of it. I don't know how anyone of British extraction could not feel a wistful "longing" about the ancestral land.

Anonymous said...

I submitted a comment the other day, the fate of which was not clear to me (it seemed accepted, yet there was no note that it was awaiting moderation) - if it has mysteriously disappeared, I may try to reconstruct it. Meanwhile, not unrelated to it, is this interesting analysis, applying the thinking of the Oxford-educated, Socratic Club-attending, Inklings-loving Canadian 'scion of Albion', George Grant:

David Llewellyn Dodds

Bruce Charlton said...


I may be that you forgot to sign your name to the lost comment - and then I deleted it because I very seldom publish anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

My 'lost comment' was concerned with "the English diaspora in the US, Canada", and striking features of both, historically. One of the most striking features of the U.S. is its promotion and protection of Christian - and Jewish - freedom on the national/federal level: no possibility of one claimant to being 'The (one, only, true, authoritative) Church' becoming the established state Church over all (though such things were permitted to continue on the level of individual states). Something like the ecclesiology of the Elizabethan Settlement and Richard Hooker (et al.) now applied (as it never yet was, in the UK) domestically as well as externally. And, in English - and French - Canada, if the analysis of George P. Grant is accurate, a definite, and to a considerable degree conscious, rooting and continuity in (ecclesial) polity and thought from 'before the Age of Progress'.

In both the US and Canada, these distinguishing features have been variously, gravely undermined and occluded, but not entirely, with possibilities of preservation, restoration, and expansion still present, though not assured.

David Llewellyn Dodds

Bruce Charlton said...

@David - I find it hard to imagine anything good coming at the scale, and with the degree of evil corruption, of federal government nowadays.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a clear enough sense of what the formal possibilities are, by way not only of election but appointment (and other administrative options, where government employees and union members are involved), or of what might affect the likelihoods of such formal possibilities being realized.

In that sense, I don't know what's 'realistically imaginable'. It does seem easy to imagine that it would no be easy (!).

David Llewellyn Dodds