“Are there not such spirits among us ready to join in the noblest of all adventures— the building up of a civilization —so that the human might reflect the divine order? In the divine order there is both freedom and solidarity. It is the virtue of the soul to be free and its nature to love; and when it is free and acts by its own will, it is most united with all other life” George Russell: The Song of the Greater Life
George Russell (1867-1935) whose birth anniversary we mark on 10 April was an Irish poet, painter, mystic, and reformer of agriculture in the years 1900 to the mid-1930s. He wrote under the initials A.E. and was so well known as A.E. that his friends called him “A.E.” and not “George”. He was a close friend and co-worker with William Butler Yeats who was a better poet and whose poems are more read today. Both A.E. and Yeats were part of the Irish or Celtic revival which worked for a cultural renewal as part of the effort to get political independence from England.
Ireland lived under a subtle form of colonialism rather than the more obvious Empire in Africa or India where domination was made more obvious by the distance from the center of power and the racial differences. The Irish were white, Christian, and partially anglicized culturally. English and Scots had moved to Ireland and by the end of the 19th century became the landed gentry. Thus Russell and Yeats felt that there had to be a renewal of Irish culture upon which a state could be built. Yet for A.E. political independence was only a first step to building a country of character and intellect “a civilization worthy of our hopes and our ages of struggle and sacrifice”. He lamented that “For all our passionate discussions over self-government we have had little speculation over our own character or the nature of the civilization we wished to create for ourselves…The nation was not conceived of as a democracy freely discussing its laws, but as a secret society with political chiefs meeting in the dark and issuing orders.”
Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!
I believe that the One World which is emerging can come into existence only if a New Man comes into being – a man who has emerged from the archaic ties of blood and soil, and who feels himself to be a citizen of the world whose loyalty is to the human race and to life, rather than to any exclusive part of it, a man who loves his country because he loves mankind, and whose views are not warped by tribal loyalties.
Eric Fromm Beyond the Chains of Illusion
Eric Fromm (1900-1980), the psychoanalyst concerned with the relation between personality and society, whose birth anniversary we mark on 23 March, was born in 1900. Thus his life was marked by the socio-political events of the century he faced, especially those of Germany, his birth place.
Erich Fromm was born into an orthodox Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main. The families of both his mother and father had rabbis and Talmudic scholars, and so he grew up in a household where the significance of religious texts was an important part of life. While Fromm later took a great distance from Orthodox Jewish thought, he continued a critical appreciation of Judaism.
He was interested in the prophets of the Old Testament but especially by the hope of the coming of a Messianic Age – a powerful theme in popular Judaism. The coming of the Messiah would establish a better world in which there would be higher spiritual standards but also a new organization of society. The Messianic ideal is one in which the spiritual and the political cannot be separated from one another.
Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!
The Great Northern War (1700-1721) was a war in which the so-called Northern Alliance composed of Russia, Denmark-Norway, Poland-Lithuania and Saxony engaged Sweden to challenge them for the supremacy in the Baltic Sea.
The war ended with a defeat for Sweden in 1721, leaving Russia as the new major power in the Baltic Sea and a new important player in European politics.
The war began as a coordinated attack on Sweden by the coalition in February 12th 1700 and ended in 1721 with the Treaty of Nystad and the Stockholm treaties.
The St Scholastica Day riot of February 10, 1355, is one of the most notorious events in the history of Oxford.
Following a dispute about beer in the Swindlestock Tavern (now the site of the Abbey Bank on Carfax) between townspeople and two students of the University of Oxford, the insults that were exchanged grew into armed clashes between locals and students over the next two days which left 63 scholars and perhaps 30 locals dead. The scholars were eventually routed.
The dispute was eventually settled in favour of the university when a special charter was created. Annually thereafter, on February 10, the town mayor and councillors had to march bareheaded through the streets and pay to the university a fine of one penny for every scholar killed, a total of 5 s. 3 d.. The penance ended 470 years later, in 1825 when the mayor of the time refused to take part.