Searching for the dialectic

When Selma came back from the Library and Manny read her notes to her, she was feeling overwhelmed. Hearing Manny read the notes aloud about Spinoza made the whole thing more vivid and trying to digest his hypothesis and the logic of his epistemology was a strain on the brain.

Manny was in no better shape with his ruminations and reflections on the Puritans.

“After two days at the Pilgrim Museum reading about the Puritan’s migration and then reading your notes on Spinoza, I keep thinking about connections between the two.

Most of Manny’s digging and reading at the Museum had confirmed his suspicions that the puritanical ideas currently cropping up on every continent originated with this bunch of migrating social rejects. In recent political debates all over the place they are still causing social disorder, political dissension and just plain making trouble.

“I read your notes, Manny.”

“Well, . . . King George was happy to see them go and the way they were treated in England and Holland is still a political issue.”

“What are you driving at, Manny?”

“Since these recent terrorist attacks, the rest of the planet is wrestling every day with new immigrants and different religious beliefs right now.”

“You mean like the public disagreement and demonstration at the Stadhuis that we escaped? You mean we’re still dealing with the Black Peter issue?”

“It’s a lot more complicated than that, but the story of intolerance is still around and the way the Puritans were treated in England and Holland is still a problem today.”

“Well, for the Puritans, self-determination and individualism by reading the scriptures in their own language became a way to decide who was the religious authority. And anyone wanting to carry out any public function in the church had to be chosen by common voice.”

“That’s right and it took away the divine right of kings, and led to a broader base of authority.”

“It also predicted the origins of a democratic society and a move toward a more plasmatic social structure. Since it was a religious, not a political agenda, it had moral and theological implications for the future.”

“Right. And to make sure that things were made pure and simple and stayed that way, they removed themselves from the rule of the King and the Church.”

Selma’s brain began scanning for a connection.

“Well OK then. The Puritans became pilgrims starting 1608 and some of them were still hanging around Leiden as late as 1658. Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in late 1632 and didn’t die until 1677, and they were all scholars of a sort, it’s pretty easy to speculate that there might have been be a loose connection.”

Selma’s summary judgment brought the discussion to an abrupt close.

“Enough already. We better start packing if we’re going to get to the airport on time in the morning. We have to turn in the rental car, too. I’ll check us in online tonight but we’ll still have to go through security.”

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