England was probably the first country to adopt the mindset that led to the materialisation of consciousness and the present-day attitudes in which God has no place. It was a pioneer in many areas that formed the contemporary world. You can't trace this back to any single formational event or time but Protestantism was certainly one step towards the separation of the natural and supernatural worlds, and then the English Civil War was another. One religious, the other political. The fact that both of these things may have had positive elements to them is beside the point. The basic truth is that they opened up a gap between the spiritual and the material which, once opened, could be expanded exponentially until the point was reached at which the spiritual was so far removed it no longer existed in any real sense and could just be denied reality. That is now. Consciousness has effectively contracted to the material which is not just perceived as primary but as all there is. This has affected even religion which is largely earthbound and moribund these days. That contraction may have been beneficial in some areas, such as the development of certain qualities of selfhood and the exploration and dominance of the physical world, but these cannot be said to compensate for the spiritual loss that has accompanied them.
It might be pointed out that these external events were just the manifestation of inner changes in consciousness which brought them about and therefore they were secondary, and that is perfectly true. Nevertheless, they also hastened the process of materialisation and grounded it in a way that enabled it to proceed and spread much more rapidly. And it was in and through England that this largely (though not exclusively, of course) came about.
The development of the physical sciences really started to take off in England in the 17th century with the founding of the Royal Society a seminal moment, and thereafter there are too many English scientists at the leading edge of their disciplines to count. Newton and Darwin are obvious examples of people whose work changed the world but there are many more. Again, this was not something that was limited to England but if anywhere was the centre of this work then it was England which was also where the industrial revolution first took hold. The same is true with regard to the new socialist political movements. When I lived in France I used to enjoy teasing the French, still viewing their Revolution through rose tinted spectacles, that the English had killed their king long before they had killed theirs.
So, blame England for the modern world!
But there is another side to this story. Alongside the prosaic, matter of fact qualities of Englishmen of the 18th and 19th centuries there existed the romantic Englishman, best exemplified by her poets whose names are too well known to require mentioning, but also appearing in other forms of literature and perhaps too in a special concern with landscape and natural beauty. And I would say that it was chiefly in England in the 19th and 20th centuries that new approaches to spirituality began to be explored, often in clumsy ways, it is true, but the intentions were generally good, and the aspiration to higher things real. The reaction against materialism first took place in the country that was principally responsible for it.
At present, any opening to spiritual awakening that seemed possible at various times over the last 150 years appears to have gone away. We are currently more locked into materialistic attitudes than ever. Even the revivals of the New Age, self-indulgent and foolish as they often were, seem to have faded away. Perhaps the damp squib that was 2012 was responsible for that. Some people look to Brexit as indicating a stirring of some sort but that seems wildly optimistic to me. Brexit is a patriotic reaction to the destruction of this country's individuality but in the vast majority of cases the people who voted for it were not considering spiritual factors.
Nevertheless, I do consider that Britain still has a part to play in the spiritual awakening of the world. As does America which is one reason why these two countries are relentlessly attacked and their inner integrity constantly undermined by the powers dedicated to the destruction of spiritual truth. Sometimes great light and darkness are to be found in the same place which makes sense when you consider that the devil would naturally focus his guns on the areas of greatest threat to him. So, although there is much darkness in this country there is also light but, paradoxically, that is less easy to see largely because it is a spiritual thing and works mostly behind the scenes. But it is there and we have to do our best to foster it, both in ourselves and in the world around us. Even if a few little candles of light remain that will eventually be enough to light others and eventually banish the darkness.
England led the world into materialism. That had a purpose at the time but its time is past. It is now time for England to remedy the situation and try to lead the world back out of the materialistic despond. She must rediscover the spiritual light at her heart and set it up on top of a hill so that it can be seen by and inspire all. She will not be alone in this but it is possible that, just as Rome was first the centre of an empire and then became a spiritual centre, so the pattern might be repeated in England or the United States, the destinies of both countries being intertwined to a degree, I believe.