In this short talk I address what it is in British psychology that makes for the appeal of BWrecksit among ordinary people throughout the UK. It is not the intellectual appeal of the ideas behind BWrecksit (I explain how there is none). I argue instead that it appeals precisely to two features of British mentality: a deference to people in authority, and a stoicism or stiff upper lip mentality. Thus the worse BWrecksit becomes and the worst its consequences become clear, the more it will appeal to the UK to carry on, Dad’s army style. I give an example of my own life illustrating these two features of our mentality and explain why now is the time to consider jettisoning these two characteristics before it is too late..
In this short talk I am giving my views as a political philosopher, using the idea of Aristotle, that we should always require our political leaders to submit their own personal egotism to the general well being and happiness of the collective civilization they are supposed to be leading or governing. I explain in detail how the current government of the UK is falling woefully short by its fanatical implementation of BWRECKSIT and I give specific and detailed reasons why this is not a logical, intelligent, ethical or prescient path to be following. I then explore the very likely consequences of what will happen if they manage to bully parliament, the media, the opposition and the legal system into allowing BWRECKSIT to happen in March 2019. Within one year I predict there will be a second referendum for Scottish independence from the UK and this time, a resounding victory for the Independence vote. Hence, BWRECKSIT will immediately and directly lead to the permanent breakup of the United Kingdom. Having lived for many years in Scotland and England both, and also in Wales, I feel I know the pulse of both nations, pretty exhaustively, and can see definite trouble looming up ahead. The divorce of Scotland and England from one another will be lengthy, protracted, bitter, and lead to considerable pain and discomfort on many sides. It will leave England alone in its post BWRECKSIT nightmare. Scotland will happily return to the EU on achieving independence, and also join the family of Nordic nations, and pursue a peace path, removing nuclear weapons from her soil at once. But the negotiations will be painful and difficult. It is my considered opinion therefore as a political philosopher, that BWRECKSIT should be put to the UK electorate again, with all the full implications on the table, including the inevitability of Scottish independence from the UK should BWRECKSIT go ahead.
SPONSORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PEACE STUDIES AND GLOBAL PHILOSOPHY (IIPSGP)
The prize will be awarded in two stages. The first will go to the architectural design for putting a top floor on the Pentagon, to house a New Department of Peace.
The Second phase will go to the lobbying team or political consultancy group, who manage to get the US Department of Peace Bill through both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the USA.
Both prizes will be awarded on the same day, when the first building work actually begins on the Nonagon, and after the President has signed the Bill into law.
RATIONALE: The Pentagon is currently the largest single source of expenditure on planet earth, and spends billions of dollars per year, and trillions over decades, all of which go to military and defence expenditure on behalf of the USA. It organises, finances and plans, the entire running of the USA military, including the Navy, the air force, the army, and also pays for all weapons research and development. It also manages the budgets of the military intelligence networks of the USA, which have spiralled into astronomical expenditure rates since 9/11. It is also responsible for paying for USA army bases around the planet, which are many in number. All this military-industrial complex which is fed from the Pentagon, is also the largest single aggregate consumer of energy on the planet and responsible for major pollution worldwide. Yet this vast expenditure I actually buying the USA as a nation very little security. Attacks on USA interests worldwide are ongoing. The rival major powers of the planet are not fading away, and continue to protest and oppose many aspects of USA policy, and also continue to develop their own military arsenals. All this vast expenditure by the Pentagon has actually witnessed many new wars breaking out worldwide.
THE NONAGON: The Nonagon will be a nine-sided building sitting on the top of the existing Pentagon structure, which will house the new USA Department of Peace. This will be voted into being by act of USA congress and the President. The budget of the Department of Peace will be exactly the same, in any calendar year, as the Department of Defence. Once the Nonagon is built, the easiest way to achieve this parity will simply be to cut the Department of Defence budget in two, and allocate one half to the new Department of Peace.
THE DEPARTMENT OF PEACE: The purpose of the new department will be to achieve peace worldwide in our lifetimes, by seeing a peaceful end to all ongoing wars and military and violent struggles taking place worldwide. Its aim will be to achieve bilateral peace and nonviolent treaties between the USA and every other nation on earth, pledging that neither will attack the other in military aggression or covert destabilisation and intelligence wars. Its tools will be: communication, mediation, dialogue, peace-building, confidence building measures, social development, poverty alleviation, providing alternatives to recruitment into terrorist armed groups through peace training provision, and above all educational provision, from school through university level to post graduate research institutions. It would be the aim of the Nonagon that every Ministry of Education worldwide will write and implement a peace education curriculum for all schools in their country, varying according to the prevailing cultural norms of that country. Likewise it would be the aim of the Nonagon, that all Universities in the world would have a department of peace studies in their universities, teaching and researching the whole field of peace from a variety of academic lenses, including political science, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, arts, literature, psychology, theology, humanities, history, ecology, earth sciences, natural sciences, biology, engineering, law, diplomacy etc. The Department of peace would have large budgetary resources at its disposal and would insist that development funding can be given to rebuild shattered post conflict communities, once all sides agree to a comprehensive peace plan that can be drafted, and presented by the Department of Peace.
THE EXISTING PENTAGON STRUCTURE The Pentagon was designed by American architect George Bergstrom (1876–1955), and built by general contractor John McShain of Philadelphia. Ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941, and the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motivating power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the U.S. Army. David J. Witmer replaced Bergstrom as chief architect on April 11, 1941, after Bergstorm resigned due to charges, unrelated to the Pentagon project, of improper conduct while he was president of the American Institute of Architects The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building, with about 6,500,000 sq. ft (600,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq. ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defence support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon.
THE FUTURE NONAGON STRUCTURE: The Nonagon will retain the overall internal size as the Pentagon below it, but will be a 9 sided building, instead of a 5 sided one. The existing height of the walls of the Pentagon is 22 metres high and consists of 5 storeys full of offices, in which the numerous employees of the Pentagon are accommodated. Likewise, the Nonagon will be 22 meters high and also consist of 5 floors likewise. This will bring home to everyone that the work of the Department of Peace is equally important as the wok of the Department of Defence. All prize entries for the Leonardo Da Vinci Peace prize must explain in detail how the Nonagon structure will be built so as to cap and sit aside the existing Pentagon structure, and must also explain how a 9 sides building can be made to fit safely and beautifully atop a 5 sides structure. On the very top of the Nonagon will be a purposely built World Peace garden for people to admire the views and enjoy nature at her finest, with trees and shrubs from all over the world, and with cooling fountains for hot summer days. There will also be meditation pavilions and prayer spaces for all world faiths to pray for peace and keep up a steady energy of goodwill for the work inside the Nonagon below.
All necessary facilities for the Nonagon structure to house the new US Department of Peace must be included in the plan, and specified by the architectural design presented. A detailed specification of the interior space design requirement for the Nonagon will be made available to candidates wishing to enter for the prize.
THE LEONARDO DA VINCI DIMENSION: Why Leonardo da Vinci ? Leonardo was a famous Italian artist, inventor, architect, designer, draughtsman, sculptor, mathematician, and scientist, whose work has become the very base line of the ideal of Renaissance genius. The American colonies of North and South America, and then the USA, were themselves born out of the European renaissance and the Americas are named after a fellow Florentine, Amerigo de Vespucci (1454-1512), who like Leonardo was a protegee of the Medici family of cultural and financial patrons running the Florentine democracy in its glory days. Amerigo and Leonardo could have met and discussed ideas together at the Academy in Florence. The necessity of the times mean that Leonardo had to spend time working as a military engineer and technical inventor, both for Lodovico Sforza, the ruler of Milan, which was one of the superpowers of the day, and for Cesare Borgia, the fierce military general working for his father, Pope Alexander Vl. In today’s world, many brilliant inventors, scientists and engineers likewise end up working for the military around the world, spending the best years of their lives designing weapons and high-tech equipment that will end up killing and maiming people all over the world. They also work for high tech military intelligence projects designed to pump out propaganda to weaken and demoralise self-defined “enemies”. But Leonardo’s vision was ultimately one of peace. As a Christian catholic and universal mystic, Leonardo dreamed of a world where the spiritual laws of love and wisdom would one day prevail over a world based on barbarism, cruelty and violence. He dreamed that peace can be furthered through art, science and beauty and the realisation and manifestation of the divine patters that underlie all our lives. He was an expert in sacred geometry and had studied Islamic and Jewish science, Sufism and the Qabalah, as well as advanced Christian philosophy and metaphysics.
The Leonardo Da Vinci Peace Prize has been launched as a project of IIPSGP following the Leonardo Da Vinci Peace Study day in France, and the visit to the Chateau of Amboise and Close Luce where Leonardo lived and died from 1516-1519, having been invited by King Francis 1st, the great renaissance King of France who did so much to boost education, scholarship, learning and the arts in France and Europe. The USA was itself a truly renaissance country, which historically also prizes and values renaissance thinking, and a whole lineage of savants and polymaths like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Buckminster Fuller, Edison, A.G Bell, Tesla, Einstein, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and many others, have contributed in the centuries since its foundation, to the advancement of humanity as whole, by developing numerous excellent inventions and technical and engineering devices. Whereas Leonardo da Vinci only dreamed of flight, the USA has developed the air industry. Whereas Leonardo only sketched ideas for self-moving automobiles, the USA has developed the car industry. The greatest statesmen and leaders of America, such as Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, F.D. Roosevelt, or J.F. Kennedy, have all realised that whereas the USA might have to fight unavoidable wars from time to time, the best long interests of the USA and the planet as a whole, are found in developing and securing peace. Thus the coming into being of the Nonagon and the Department of Peace represents the best brightest dreams of all the greatest visionary American citizens and pioneers. Peace was likewise the vision of the native peoples of North America, and in Deganawidah profound teachings on peace were shared before the coming of the Europeans. Many of the early settlers and pioneers who came to North America likewise dreamed of a country living at peace, such as William Penn. The Nonagon will represent the achievement of all their hopes and goals too.
IMPLICATIONS: Building the Nonagon will represent a major shift for the people of the USA and the world. By recognising that peace is an equally important goal for mankind as defence, it will send a signal to other nations to likewise follow suit. Instead of proving one’s friendship to the American people by match-spending the Pentagon’s massive budget, nations could instead develop their own departments of peace and develop their own peace projects in their own unique cultural contexts. instead of the USA military continuing to strive for strategic military dominance over all other nations, it could realise that the true way to security is via peace, not war. It represents a major shift of consciousness suitable for a third millennium, that shows mankind there is a way out of the current chaos and confusion caused by unsolved military conflicts worldwide. The Nonagon would tackle creatively and imaginatively the necessity to end peacefully (un)civil wars such as have been raging in Syria for too long, and the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict over hegemony in the Holy Land. By building the Nonagon and prioritising peace, the USA would show it is serious about peacebuilding not only in the Middle East, but globally, and in this new mission it would hopefully be joined by its true friends and partners.
PRACTICALITIES: Fully trained and qualified architects and architectural practises are invited to submit their design plans for building the physical infrastructure of the Nonagon. Political lobbying forms and consultancies are invited to submit their plans to ensure the passage of the US Department of Peace Bill, including the wording of the bill. Both prizes will be judged by a professional team of architects and savants organised under the rubric of the IIPSGP. The final announcement will be made in Amboise at Clos Luce where Leonardo lived and died from 1516-1519. The prize will remain open until the building of the Nonagon commences.
GUIDING VISION: It has been well said of Leonardo that “He was like a man who had woken too early in the darkness when everyone else was still asleep” (Dmitri Merezkhkovski, 1901) The same will be said of the Leonardo da Vinci Peace prize and the Nonagon Project, but later, humanity will only ask why it took so long to think of it.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Dr Thomas Daffern, Chair of the Leonardo da Vinci Prize Committee or Jeffrey Gayle, Architectural Adviser to IIPSGP, at IIPSGP, Leonardo da Vinci Peace Prize, 13 Grande Rue, Betete, La Creuse, 23270, France, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Following the attack on Syria by the USA, UK and France, on Friday 13 April and Saturday 14 April, a decision taken by Prime Minster Theresa May without consulting parliament, or the democratic will of the people of Britain, debates finally took place in the UK parliament on Monday 16 April and Tuesday 17 April. Although the quality of these debates were in some parts marked by excellent rhetorical flourishes and showed some basic understanding of the complexity of the situation we now find ourselves in as a world, the author has recorded his own detailed comments on these debates in the enclosed two talks. He has pointed out some major flaws not just with the thinking of MP’s as evidenced in the debates, but also points out some problems with the existing UK Constitution as it tries to deal with a new era of information warfare, propaganda and truth-deficits. The fact that the “secret intelligence” on which this military action was launched was shared only with members of the Privy Council, and does in fact appear to be flawed if not mendacious, raises the ethical and political question about whether we now live in the UK in a Kryptocracy., where secrecy, lies and half truths determine policies that could literally mean the end of life in the UK and Europe for generations to come. Is this right or just ? is it intelligent ? The speaker works through some major issues that are concerning everyone in the UK and globally right now about the whole tragic confict going on in Syria and above all, how we can best end it and mediate a genuine peace agreement, and why we should. He suggests that the UK’s foreign policy needs to be entirely rethought and a new branch of policy be developed, which he has christened “peace policy”to balance the work of our current think tanks who talk only of military and security policy, foreign policy and strategic policy. There is no joined up thinking going on whatsoever about peace policy in the government of the UK, as was made clear by the debates in Parliament this week; nor apparently is it going on in the Opposition. But these talks should interest not only UK citizens but also all Commonwealth, Europe, Middle Eastern, American and indeed Russian thinkers. The author is radically calling for joined up global thinking about peace, and a truly universal peace policy being developed. Among other things he calls for a new floor to be put on top of the existing Pentagon building: a 9 Sided circular shape (A Nonagon) which would house a new Department of Peace dedicated solely to peace thinking, mediation, and conflict resolution, just as the thinking of the Pentagon is dedicated to war fighting and covert destabilisation of countries around the world. The Pentagon is the biggest single drain on the world’s collective wealth, and is like a black hole literally siphoning off the collective wealth of the planet, in pursuit of the chimera of “security”. It needs capping, literally, and the drain of global wealth towards militarism needs to be plugged. The UK should likewise develop a genuine Department of Peace to offset the work of the Ministry of Defence. Anyone who cares about seeing truthful and intelligent peace thinking applied to shaping policy in the UK governing structures, and who is prepared for some genuine “blue skies” thinking, should listen in to these two talks.
Following the recent declaration warning against hastily jumping to conclusions over the Salisbury poisoning case, which I have signed and authored, along with philosophers and other intellectual colleagues from around the world, the situation in Syria has suddenly reached fever pitch in the Western media as if to stampede the world into a major military confrontation over the issues of a chemical weapons attack. This however prejudges the situation which has received no proper forensic and investigative analysis. Until then, we should all calm down, and find out who actually was responsible, then let them be dealt with according to international law and due process. Meanwhile the international community should be trying to mediate this civil war in Syria, not add to it by further militarisation. But for that to happen, we have to learn about the deeper background of this crisis. We have to be prepared to take the long term view. In this dangerous situation it is imperative that the voices of intellectuals and philosophers and academics can be heard above the conflicting claims and hysterical war rhetoric that we are hearing, even from our elected political leaders. Intelligent political leaders who wish to be remembered by coming generations as having prevented wars, rather than having triggered them, need to reflect soberly on this situation we find ourselves in. Please listen in to this important talk, share it widely with friends and colleagues, and try to get your MP’s, Lords, members of Congress, the Knesset and other elected political leaders to listen too. Hopefully, we can still avoid a planetary melt-down.. but we do all need to put our thinking caps on..
A JOINT STATEMENT ABOUT TENSIONS IN ANGLO-RUSSIAN RELATIONS,
We the undersigned are British, Russian, European, Indian, American and other intellectuals and philosophers who have long campaigned for better peace and understanding between Russia, Europe, the UK and the rest of the world. We have been instrumental in organising conferences of Philosophers for Peace in 1985-1986, 1988 and 1990, and again in 1993 and often since then. Many of us have taken part regularly in meetings of the World Congress of Philosophy. Some of us are members of International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide and many of us are involved also in a new project, to establish the World Intellectual Forum. Through our contacts and networks, we have links to leading philosophisers and intellectuals all over the world, in Russia, Europe, UK, China, USA India, the Middle East, Israel, Latin America, Africa and so on.
We are issuing this emergency statement because of increased sabre rattling in the media arising from the tragic poisoning on 4 March 2018 of two Russians, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, father and daughter, one of whom lives in Salisbury and one in Moscow. They will hopefully recover but their lives are still in the balance.
It’s our considered opinion that these tragic poisonings were very unlikely to have been in any way sanctioned at any official level by the Russian government under Vladimir Putin and that any evidence put forward to the contrary by the UK government needs to be examined by an independent international committee of scientific and forensic experts. Responsible voices in the UK have increasingly questioned whether the UK government’s accusations against Russia are indeed accurately based. They must be tested out by genuine experts objectively. We suspend judgment until the actual evidence has been assessed by neutral third parties.
A crime has been committed on British soil, and allegations are being made that claim it originated in orders from the Russian government, but no concrete empirical proof is being given, simply innuendos and agitation.
This reminds us of the false evidence that was used to generate the invasion of Iraq in 2003, arguably the worst blow to peace in international affairs for many years, in which the media rushed to accuse Al Qaeda alone of being responsible for the events of 9/11 without any real evidence being produced, and then generated a media storm which resulted in somehow linking the events to Saddam Hussein, and this generated in turn a mass hysteria in the Western mind which somehow made invading a sovereign country legitimate in many minds. Of course, it wasn’t legitimate but an illegal action under international law but the media colluded in creating a false narrative that impacted on the way events turned out, resulting in the mass deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the destabilisation of the entire Middle East since then.
Now something similar is happening. The mass media in the UK has rushed to point the finger at Russia without real evidence being produced. All the available evidence shows that Russia would have far more to lose by authorising this killing, of an agent who had already long ago been sent back to live in the West. Why on earth would Putin now send a hit squad to kill someone they had already let go ? It is unthinkable that President Putin would be that stupid. There is also an unwritten rule that after official “spy swops” you don’t go on and kill those you returned, or the whole system is invalidated and trust breaks down completely. As intellectuals we have a duty to demand a very high burden of proof this time around. We urge all committed intellectuals to co-sign this letter with us and share it widely among fellow thinkers and responsible intellectual leaders in the UK, Russia and Europe. We cannot stand back and let this hysterical attempt to generate negative feelings between Russia and the UK go unremarked
Also possible as a hypothesis, is that someone from another international power, or an “unofficial” influence block inside the UK, has done this killing and then helped manipulate the media in order to blame Russia – why ? Because they want to destabilise further the friendships that have been building up in Anglo-Russian relations since the ending of the cold war and may simply have a strong case of “Russo-phobia” – because it takes people’s minds off domestic difficulties such as the likely impact of Brexit on the break up of the UK itself ! If they can whip up aggression against a foreign nation through false attacks, it takes people’s minds off critical decisions in the UK regarding brexit and its likely negative impact on the long term stability and well being of the UK itself. It is almost certainly the case that whoever did this killing in Salisbury wants Brexit to succeed and is prepared to use any means, fair or foul, to bring that about.
As leading philosophers of peace in our respective countries who worked through philosophical networks to help bring about the ending of the cold war between Russia (then the Soviet Union) and Europe and the UK and USA, we urge caution to all those in the UK and Russia who would like to turn this sad incident in Salisbury, England into something of major importance.
We ask both sides to submit their evidence and contra-evidence to responsible investigating bodies such as the International Court of Justice, and if a crime has been committed and allegations are being made, then let Interpol deal with it, let responsible European, Russian and UK policing agencies be tasked with tracking down the attackers. Let justice be done – in other words, let us not be too hasty to rush to our condemnations without allowing properly legal authorities to investigate in a responsible manner. Then, whoever turns out to have been guilty, let them be punished according to the law, both domestic and international. As philosophers we suspend judgement until the truth has been established beyond doubt.
Russia and the UK are both two ancient nations who have both learned the hard way that only true justice in the end lets a country flourish This is test case in our relations. Instead of hasty judgments, let true evidence and true legality prevail.
But the case raises an additional and equally difficult matter. In today’s modern globalised world, conflicts are being fought behind the scenes, by espionage agents, using cloak and dagger methods, or using the internet and cyber networks to spread black propaganda ad infinitum. We have entered a new era of “information wars”. Nobody knows anymore who to believe or how to trust anyone. It is as if our basic understandings of morality have broken-down and with that the distinction between right and wrong. Truth has become “whatever you can convince enough people to believe”. But this is not how the cold war ended. This is not how the UK and Russian emerged out of a long period of hostile relations to recognise each other as free nations both embarked on a search for justice, peace, prosperity and enlightenment, as are all nations worldwide. We urge therefore that a new international peace treaty be signed in which nations pledge not to use black espionage, black propaganda, fake news and disinformation against each other. Then acts such as this poisoning in Salisbury would be totally ruled out of order, and never permitted, under any circumstances. We ask that the governments of Russia and the UK make such a treaty, and pledge that they will conduct their relations honourably henceforth, and that although they may have policy differences, and may express those openly, they will never stoop so low as to use such underhand methods as covert attacks and killings on each other’s soil, or indulge in false flag attacks against their own citizens. In turn, once Russia and the UK have signed such a treaty, we will ask other nations (e.g. members of NATO and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States) to co-sign the treaty, and we will hope that the treaty can be adopted by the UN in general, by the EU, in the Middle East and that all nations can eventually sign it. This will take huge effort but we say the time has come for this.
For just as people have been campaigning to rid the world of all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, we also believe, as philosophers and intellectuals, that the new sphere of warfare is now cyber-warfare, information war and covert propaganda and cyber-espionage – and that to establish true peace between nations we need to devise new treaties and new laws outlawing all such manifestations of ill-will and short term egoistical self-advantage of one nation against another. We suggest this new treaty be called THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY OF CYBER-PEACE
We leave the drafting of such a treaty to international lawyers, and urge that they begin the work without delay, both in Russia and the UK.
Meanwhile, we offer to help with philosophical mediation, through the Multicultural and Multifaith Mediation Service (MMMS) over how to resolve the problems arising from this tragic case in Salisbury. We would urge that the British and Russian representatives come to a face to face meeting in Paris to discuss the actual evidenced facts that are known behind this sad event, in private. Just as the Treaty Of Paris (1990) led to the ending of the cold war in Europe in 1990, we ask that the leaders of Russia and the UK, NATO and the CIS and other responsible international bodies such as the United Nations, take a deep breath, a step back and stop escalating the wars of propaganda between our respective cultures and countries.
The fate of the nations of the world is in the balance and we urge all responsible intellectuals and all genuine politicians who are concerned for the future well being of the planet, to come together and join us in the work of the World Intellectual Forum. We call for moderation in political views, humility and a recognition that as one global society, we the peoples of separate countries have to realise that our futures and our fates are bound up with each other and we need to transcend traditional enmity with new friendship, trust, honesty and respect.
Dr Thomas Clough Daffern, Director, International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy (UK and France), European Coordinator of the World Intellectual Forum; Secretary General, Philosophers and Historians for Peace, (www.educationaid.net), Vice President and European Coordinator, International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide (http://www.philosophersforpeace.org/), Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Middle East (https://trcme.wordpress.com/)
Dr Igor Kondrashin, President & CEO, World Philosophical Forum, Secretary-General, Supreme Council of Humanity, International GUSI Peace Prize Laureate, Citizen of the Earth-XXI (Russia, Greece, Universal State of the Earth), Philosophical Coordinator of World Intellectual Forum
Prof.Dr. D. Swaminadhan Ph.D.(England), D.Sc. FIE, FNAE, FTAS, FAPAS, MISTE, MISCA. MIIPA, Global Chairman of the World Intellectual Forum, President, Mahatma Gandhi National Institute of Research and Social Action (MGNIRSA), Hyderabad, India; Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Medical Research (JNIAMER), Secunderabad, India; Chairman, Swaminadhan Research Foundation (DSRF), Hyderabad, India, Formerly:Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, (JNTU) Hyderabad,
Shlomo Shoham of Israel, retired Judge, former head of the Commission for Future Generations for the Israeli Knesset, and Legal advisor to the Constitution Law and Justice Committee in the Israeli Parliament, Honorary fellow of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Founder and Director of the Sustainable Global Leadership Academy, board member of the World Intellectual Forum
Prof. Dr Christopher Busby. Scientific Secretary, European Committee on Radiation Risk, Brussels, Director, Green Audit, UK, Director Environmental Research SIA, Riga,Latvia, President International Foundation for Research on Radioactivity Risk, Stockholm.
Here in France I have just finished giving a course at the European Peace Museum, which has taken place weekly this Autumn term. The theme was as follows:French And European Philosophical Thinkers And The Paths To Peace
Each week we have covered a different topic in this overall subject. It was a kind of crash course on French intellectual history, looking at the contributions made by significant French thinkers over the centuries towards the idea of peace, from different angles, different paths. It seemed to me an appropriate course to run from here, since we are establishing a new Pan European Peace Museum in this central part of France, which has already attracted visitors from across Europe, including the UK.
Totally unbeknown to me, at the same time, the Community of St Egidio was organising in Germany a gathering on on 11 September, on the exact same theme of PATHS TO PEACE in which World Council of Churches president for Europe and Archbishop emeritus Dr Anders Wejryd reflected on the times when churches have been able to make a difference by getting people to actually change politics and priorities, along with many other speakers at “Paths of Peace,” an international interreligious meeting of dialogue and prayer for peace held in the German cities of Münster and Osnabrück. The gathering explored topics such as eco-justice, terrorism, prayer, healing, children’s rights, and migration, among others. Speakers included the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb; Rev. Dr Chris Ferguson, general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches; and Angela Merkel, chancellor of the German Federal Republic. Another speaker was Dr S.L. Gandhi of the Anuvibha Jain organisation in Jaipur who was due to come and visit the European Peace Museum afterwards.
So that was an auspicious sign of synchronicity. My course started on September 25th and took place as follows.
French And European Philosophical Thinkers And The Paths To Peace
September 25th – Ancient Celtic Gaul and the Druid paths to peace
October 2nd—Bodin, Montesquieu, Saint Simon, Pierre Lerroux, Raymond Aaron and the Political thinkers’ path to peace
October 9th – Pascal, Descartes, Marie Curie and the Scientific Paths to Peace
October 16th – The French Jewish heritage and the Qabalist Path to Peace
October 23rd – Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, Hadot and Philosophical Paths to peace
October 30th – Postel, Doinel, Papus, Guenon, Faivre and the Esotericists’ Path to Peace
November 6th – Montaigne, Racine, George Sand, Proust, Victor Hugo and Literary Paths to Peace
November 13th – The Lodge of the 9 Sisters and the Freemasonic path
November 20th – Henri Corbin and the Islamic and Sufi path to Peace
November 27th – Monnet, De Rougemont and the pan-European path to Peace
December 4th – St. Bernard, Abelard, Teilhard de Chardin, Lanza del Vasto and the Christian Theological Paths to peace
Each week was set around the idea of “paths to peace” and was offered in the spirit that peace is a complex, multidimensional and therefore multidisciplinary task to track down. There is far too much “un-peace” in the world, not least in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Palestine/Israel.. and even closer to home, in the streets of many European cities.
I did a lot of work in researching each topic, although I was also able to draw on a lifetime’s prior research in studying these subjects and writing about them for many years. Since it is very topical at the moment, I thought I would upload to my blog the talk I gave no November 27th about the intellectual history of the European Union – who were its architects, and what did they think they were doing ? Everyone who studies the matter agrees that the founders of the European Union were primarily concerned to create an international system of interlocking relationships in Europe so that a major European war would no longer be possible. It was a “functionalist” creation, inspired by David Mitrany and other intellectual giants, to prevent the violence that had bedevilled European international relations ever since the 100 years war, or Caesar’s invasion of Gaul, from recurring, or the Greek civil war of the Peloponnesian war in which Athens and Sparta fought each other with furious violence, as recounted by Thucydides the Greek historian. In the 20th century, two vast European civil wars had dragged the whole world into joining in and countless millions had been killed,
Although not perfect, and like any political organisation, in need of constant improvement and constitutional adjustment to take account of new realities, the basic ideas are sound, and the fundamental architecture has served its purpose well. It has indeed prevented a recurrence of major wars in Europe since it was created (although it has failed to prevent the wars in former Yugoslavia or in Ukraine). Instead of walking away and committing Brexit (which should really also be called BREAKUK since it would lead directly to the breakup of the UK) I have instead called for the UK to remain and to help transform the European Union’s institutions along more popular and democratic lines, that the people of Europe can see it is actually working for them, and not against them.
Among the reforms I have proposed are two of special significance:
No European Union civil servant or bureaucrat should be paid more than the salary of the lowest paid Prime Minister of the member states of the European Union
The European Union should create a new outreach service, separate from its Foreign Ministry, called the EUROPEAN UNION MEDIATION SERVICE, which would have legal and intellectual autonomy as an agency of the European Union, with the sole aim of bringing about peace through mediation in states neighbouring the European Union, and in member states of the European Union itself.
Both of these ideas are sound, realistic, feasible and would restore quite a lot of credibility to the European Union if adopted.
But in order to reformat the EU, and to convince enough people who are dissatisfied with it to remain within and not to commit BREKUK / BREXIT, it is important that we all understand exactly where, how and why it was created. There is a woeful ignorance about the history of the EU and this is partly because the history of the EU is simply not taught in British schools. My own mother, Eileen Daffern, once worked for the University of Sussex European Studies Department, to create a course, including an A level in European Studies, for British Schools, but the project was never completed, and to this date you cannot study the history of the European Union in the British educational system until you reach University, and then only if you are reading a degree which includes this topic.
So, to make up for this lacuna, here then is my lecture on the history of the European Union as a path to peace, which I hope listeners will find of interest.
If the European Union was intended as a path to peace, why then is the UK about to get off the path and enter the bramble patch ? Do we really want to become the 52 state of the USA, the most heavily armed and most militaristic nation in the history of the earth, which has fought a total of at least 105 official wars since it came into being in 1776 ? This does not include unofficial and intelligence wars in which the USA has been intervening behind the scenes, in a proxy fashion. In neither world war one nor world war two did the USA come to support the UK immediately, only after it was in their own declared self interest. France however, on both occasions, was supporting the UK from the start. in world war one the USA didn’t join until 1917, and in world war two not till December 1941, which means that for the whole of the Battle of Britain, when UK cities were being blasted by the German air force, the USA was continuing as a neutral, and continuing to trade with Germany. Even Russia has a better track record of being an ally of the UK than that, since Russia fought alongside UK in the Napoleonic Wars, in the First world war, and eventually, in world war two. If anyone wants a list of the wars the USA has fought cine coming into being you can find it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States
Rather than continuing down the BREAKUK-BREXIT path, it is my earnest hope, as I have said previously in this blog, that the UK will rethink and decide to remain in the UK. The tactical politics of how that might happen are interesting, but certainly, the current cabal of right wing conservatives currently running Westminster and destroying the UK will need to be replaced with centrist, intelligent, pro-European thinking people, similar to the Clegg-Cameron coalition that governed the UK prior to current debacle. Theresa May has made the worst job of being a prime Minister for a very long time, and her inability to respond to my own letters in any coherent or intelligent form, is simply indicative of a wider listening difficulty.
The late Mark Williams, who tragically died in October 2017, would have supported this analysis 100% and were he still alive he would have been sitting in the class, listening to this lecture and taking notes. The fact that he is dead means that I dedicate this lecture to his noble memory. May he rest in peace, but may the cause he fought for in his last year of life, the reversal of Brexit-BreakUK, succeed in turning around the ship of state into less choppy waters.
There is another footnote to add here: after giving this talk, I was researching for the final talk in this series, about the history of Christian thinkers in France and their paths to peace, and was looking into the history of Christian idealism in France. I wondered about the French Hegelian tradition, what had happened to it ? I knew about the famous lectures given on Hegel by Kojeve, and I knew that they had gone down as something quite extraordinary in French intellectual history, to which many of the greatest French philosophers had come along to listen to. But here is what I found out about Kojeve: Christian idealists: He was born Aleksandr Vladimirovič Koževnikov in Russia to a wealthy and influential family. His uncle was the abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky, about whose work he would write an influential essay in 1936. He was educated at the University of Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany. In Heidelberg he completed in 1926 his PhD thesis on the Russian religious philosopher Vladimir Soloviev’s views on the union of God and man in Christ under the direction of Karl Jaspers. (I also talked about Jaspers in my final talk in the series). The title of his PhD thesis was Die religiöse Philosophie Wladimir Solowjews (The Religious Philosophy of Vladimir Soloviev). Early influences included the philosopher Martin Heidegger and the historian of science Alexandre Koyré. Kojève spent most of his life in France, and it was from 1933 to 1939, that he delivered in Paris a series of lectures on Georg Hegel’s work Phenomenology of Spirit. This I knew already. Some of Kojève’s more important lectures on Hegel have also been published in English in the now classic Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit, in 1947. His interpretation of Hegel has been one of the most influential of the past century. His lectures were attended by a small but influential group of intellectuals including Raymond Queneau, Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, André Breton, Jacques Lacan, Raymond Aron, Roger Caillois, Michel Leiris, Henry Corbin, Jean Hyppolite, and Éric Weil. His interpretation of the master–slave dialectic was an important influence on Jacques Lacan’s mirror stage theory. Other French thinkers who have acknowledged his influence on their thought include the post-structuralist philosophers Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. In addition to his lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit, Kojève’s other publications include a little noticed book on Immanuel Kant, and articles on the relationship between Hegelian and Marxist thought and Christianity. His 1943 book, Esquisse d’une phenomenologie du droit, published posthumously in 1981, contrasts the aristocratic and bourgeois views of law. Le Concept, le temps et le discours, extrapolates on the Hegelian notion that wisdom only becomes possible in the fullness of time. Kojeve also wrote a study of pagan philosophy in Esquisse d’une histoire raisonnée de la pensée païenne, which covers the pre-Socratic philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, and Neoplatonism. This is interesting because in this talk, I also explain how the forced conversion of pagan philosophical intellectuals to a form of church-state Christianity, was a result of an intellectual error, based on fear, which had profound consequences in European intellectual history. I also explain how St Augustine converted from Manicheanism to Catholic Christianity out of fear, since Manicheans had been threatened with the death penalty just before he “converted”. This is never revealed in all the voluminous studies of Augustine that praise him as the “greatest of Christian thinkers”. In fact, as I explain in this talk, he had a negative impact on the history of the European mind. This is terrain that Kojeve also explored in his own writings, although whether he knew much about Gnosticism, Pelagius, Druidry and Manicheanism, remains to be uncovered. Certainly Hegel was very familiar with such advanced esoteric studies and included them in his magnifience synthesis of philosophical ideas.
Recently, three more books have been published by Kojeve: a 1932 thesis on the physical and philosophical importance of quantum physics, an extended 1931 essay on atheism (“L’athéisme”), and a 1943 work on “The Notion of Authority.”
What I had never realised before was that after World War II, Kojève worked in the French Ministry of Economic Affairs as one of the chief planners of the European Common Market. Kojève was an extraordinarily learned man. A polyglot, he studied and used Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, Latin, and Classical Greek. He was also fluent in French, German, Russian, and English. Kojève died in Brussels in 1968, shortly after giving a talk at the European Economic Community (now the European Union) on behalf of the French government. So it means that I ought to have added Kojeve to my account of the spiritual and intellectual origins of the European Union. Here is a picture of his grave, in Brussels, which is where he was living and working when he died.
So the question really is – do we in the UK, and throughout Europe want to keep this extraordinary European Union in being, and transform it from a prevoyance of peace, into an actuality of international peacemaking, or are we happy to let Brexit/BreakUK go ahead, and gradually watch as neo-nationalist movements replace the genuine cosmic internationalism that the best European minds have advocated since Plato proposed the Republic of Philosophers, the Stoics posed their idea of the Cosmopolitics of the City of the Gods or the Druids wandered far and wide from Ireland to the Balkans in peace ? Do we want Cosmopoliticians like Kojeve and Monnet, or do we want petty nationalists running Europe ? At least once you’ve listened to this talk, you will know what’s at stake in the business of BREKUK-Brexit.
Listen, and enjoy… The other lectures of this series, including the last one of French Christianity and philosophy, will eventually make their way onto the new Global Green University website.
The following is a short talk I have prepared concerning the tragic massacre at Béziers in the South West of France, which took place on Mary Magdalene’s Day on July 22, 1209. This was the first tragic event of the long conflict known as the Cathar War, which took place from 1209 to 1244, when the Castle of Montsegur finally surrendered. Countless Cathars were massacred, their spiritual elders were burned alive and thousands of innocent victims, who happened to follow a different version of Christianity than that officially taught by the Papacy in Rome, paid with their lives for retaining a more primitive and original form of Gnostic Christianity, probably closer to that actually taught by Jesus Christ and his innermost disciples and coworkers such as Mary Magdalene, Thomas and John. in this talk I discuss the significance of the massacre at Beziers for today’s global politics, and make the links to the events following 9/11 and the tragic destruction of the World Trade centre. Yet without having any real judicial or forensic inquiry, the USA used this event, which all rational inquiry reveals as partly down to an “inside job” as an excuse to launch an illegal war against Iraq, which in turn has led to the destabilization of the entire Middle East, as the local citizens understandably have turned to acts of terrorism in revenge, being the only way they can think of to cause trouble to a super-power.
So it was during the Cathar War, which was also about competing theological attempts to understanding ultimate reality, different explanations for why there is evil and suffering in the world, and different interpretations of who Christ was and why he had come. Then as now, the war lords and the people in political and military power, refused to listen to mediation, or the rational discourse of holistic thinkers who could have replaced the violence of the battlefield with he dialectic of the seminar room. Then as now, Sophiaphobia continues to haunt mankind, as we turn our backs on rationality and the love of wisdom, and pursue instead rhetoric, sophistry and violence, aimed at silencing those who would speak the truth, rather than listening to them. As Giles Quispel said, however, Gnosticism is the third vital current in European intellectual history, and has a way of popping up when all else seems lost. is there an authentic Gnosticism that we can marry up with exoteric religion ? Can the esoteric and exoteric dimensions of our being make peace, finally, or must we continue to live through life after life of Gnostic wars, as the ghosts of the past continue to battle the spirits of the future ? This short talk addresses these points from a holistic philosophical perspective, and acts as a rallying call for all who are tired of the endless “Cathar Wars” of mankind, now fought in darkness beneath covert “terrorist and counter terrorist operations”, and who instead would rather see a genuine deep peace emerge in our times.
Here at the European Peace Museum we held a special study day on July 22 in honour of St Mary Magdalene and will continue with an annual confernece to debate her real meaning on that day from now on, which also happens to be the anniversary of this tragic massacre at Beziers in 1209.
As well as being Hiroshima Day, which was a terrible event in human history, August 6 is also the day on which the universal Church celebrates the Transfiguration. This is a strange event in the life of Jesus Christ, when he retires to a high mountain peak, possibly Mount Hermon or Mont Tabor, with several of his closest disciples, and they watch in awe as, deep in prayer, the outer form of Jesus appears to change, and he becomes surrounded with a cloud of brilliant light. Then, miraculously, there appear at least two other Saints or Prophets from the past, Moses and Elijah, whom all the disciples up there on the mountain also see. Exactly what did this even mean ? How important was it ? Can it have been real or was it merely a legend, a later myth, invented by human speculation ? In this commentary on the 9th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, I go into this question in some depth. Later on, I discovered that I had recorded this talk exactly on the anniversary of the transfiguration itself, which was such a synchronicity that I had to share this recording for the benefit of friends and students and around the world. Luke Chapter 9 also gives us other important stories, and confirms for the first time the death of John the Baptist, so I use this as an opportunity to discuss in detail the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus – were they rivals ? Why do some Gnostic schools such as the Mandaeans still believe John the Baptist was the greater teacher ? There are many mysteries associated with this tradition and I explore them in some detail. The Knights Templars seem to have regarded John the Baptist as very important, as did the Cathars before them. The Knights of St John who inherited the templar lands were dedicated to John the Baptist from the beginning. This is not your normal or average biblical commentary, but something very different, which has not been hitherto attempted (to my knowledge) in which I am combing both conventional textual based scholarship, as well as drawing on the range of apocryphal and Gnostic writings that have been discovered or rediscovered only in recent decades, and in which I am trying to explain these writings “from within” so to speak. It draws on my hypothesis of “transpersonal history” and tries to explain with as much clarity as possible, how an attempt to understand the spiritual psychology of Jesus can explain what happened in the last two thousand years of the religious life of mankind. If we are to get an interfaith peace treaty that all faiths can sign up to, then we are going to have to understand all our textual and scriptural traditions in a new way, combining scientific analysis with transpersonal understanding. This is what I am attempting in these Commentaries, but they are not for the faint hearted, for whom “faith” is not to be reasoned over, or struggled with, but simply to be accepted blindly.. Nor is it intended just for “Christians” but also for people of all other faiths, or none.. Let no one afraid to think enter here, for this Commentary is a strong medicine against Sophiaphobia.. ..
It is also fitting perhaps that this day, August 6 is also an important day to the peace movement, commemorating the tragic dropping of the first atomic bomb in human history, which killed over 150,000 people and reduced a beautiful Japanese city, a town of advanced culture, and home to many Japanese Christians, to a pile of poisonous rubble..
Just as Hiroshima represents the negative transfiguration of matter, at the hands of dark alchemists intent on using wisdom for violent ends, the transfiguration of Jesus represents the positive transmutation of matter by spirit, for the purpose of enlightenment and ushering in a new deeper wisdom about reality.
It is up to each one of us to decide: which kind of transfiguration would we like to witness in our time on earth ?
In this short two part talk I reflect further on the unfairness of the present electoral system which is not based on genuine proportional representation and wonder whether a new definition of government might not be: ““Government is a system whereby a minority can impose its will against the majority of a people”.
I also reflect on the fact that today, June 9, is St Columba’s Day and that this important Celtic Saint was also loyal to the ancient Druid and Bardic wisdom traditions, and did not shirk from truth telling. Truth telling is also the duty of Christians and Buddhists and all who care about the place of wisdom in politics. I also share the story of Maronatha the great Buddhist sage and teachers of Vasubandhu whose views were shouted down in debate much as people have been who have tried to speak out in this election we have just held.
Ancient wisdom, (Christian, Buddhist, Druid or Sufi etc.) is still relevant even in today’s political world of vigorous debate and the cut and thrust of rising and falling into and out of power, and the quintessence of this is that our actions are judged under the auspices of the spiritual kingdoms, as St Columba realized, which is why he used to go and sit on the Hill of the Angels in Iona, I suggest in this short talk that we all need to go and sit on our own personal “Hill of the Angels” and reflect on the best way forward in this eternal and ancient struggle – how to get truth telling, wisdom and love to have a hearing in the world of power-politics ? How to get Jerusalem to listen to the beauty of Galilee ?