Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Wardens' And Rangers' Time War II

In Poul Anderson's The Corridors Of Time (London, 1968), the Wardens' and Rangers' manipulations of religion are cynical but also philosophical. In the sixteenth century, the Warden Mareth leads a heathen Coven in Denmark and a Catholic flock in England. However, in both countries, he opposes the Rangers' Reformation.

In their own period, the Wardens are mystical, ritualistic pantheists, with divinity embodied in their female leaders, whereas the Rangers have "...only a harsh materialistic theory of history." (p. 136)

A false dichotomy: the word "only" implies a reductionist mechanical materialism, denying qualitative transformations and the emergence of new levels of being like self-reflective consciousness that creates myths expressed through rituals. The materialist philosophy that being determines consciousness, thus that social being determines individual conscious, but that conscious beings then act on and change their environments, is not "harsh" but, in my opinion, a recognition of the interaction between consciousness and reality. But, no doubt, the Rangers' philosophy emphasizes the passive dependence of the masses on material conditions maintained by the elite.

Each side wants to be served throughout history by populations that broadly accept its world view. Thus, Jesper Fledelius, a Catholic prepared to recognize white magic, accepts the Warden Storm as "'...Her...'" (p. 102) and "'...Our Lady...'" (ibid.), when she emerges from the dolmen on his land one summer evening.

"Christendom entered, with books and logic and the first god who ever punished incorrect beliefs about his own nature - and erelong the people's hearts belonged to Mary. The Reformation brought back Jehovah, armed with a terrible weapon against instinct - the printing press - but religion itself was subtly divided, discredited, emasculated, until the world five or six hundred years hence felt its own barrenness and yearned for a faith that went deeper than words. Lockridge looked into the century after his own and did not see science triumphant; he saw men gathered on hills in the name of a new god or of ancient one reborn.
"Or a goddess?" (p. 105)

Here we see the time war through history -

books, logic, punishment of incorrect beliefs: Rangers;
Mary, instinct: Wardens;
printing, religion discredited, barrenness: Rangers;
yearning: Wardens;
science triumphant?: Rangers;
gatherings on hills: Wardens.

The synthesis comes in the age after both Wardens and Rangers.

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