Is there a secret history of the world?Read the whole review.
If you are anything like me, you will occasionally — as if by serendipity — come across a book you intended to write yourself.
Indeed, you may already have written about its subject matter at some length, but regrettably not in book form.
As Albert Einstein put it, “If I keep asking the question long enough, the answer will be given me”.
The book I “chanced” upon is The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black, a nom de plume of Mark Booth, Chief Executive of Century publishers, a British imprint of Random House. The author has used his many connections within publishing to amass an impressive array of data on his topic.
The simplest way to explain his subject is to state that science has become a militant materialist philosophy that believes matter precedes mind. Some scientists have even called consciousness “a disease of matter,” as if it were an interloper in a senseless universe.
This view is the complete opposite of what a majority of the greatest minds throughout history have believed — or better, known.
This sounds like a good book. The review mentions everyone from Pope John Paul II to Rupert Sheldrake -- and a whole lot in between.
The Publisher's Weekly review is a bit different:
Booth, a London publisher who has taught philosophy and theology at Oxford, is not shy about what he expects from readers—he asks that they enter into an imaginative exercise and embrace a world in which the basic facts of history can be interpreted in a way which is almost completely the opposite of the way we normally understand them. That radical re-interpretation is based on the tenets offered in the secret teachings of Rosicrucians, esoteric Freemasonry, Sufism and Kabbalism, among others, with additional references to Eastern religions and Greek and Roman mythology. According to Booth, these teachings inspire the cosmic mind that brought into being the material universe. Booth's history incorporates so many disparate philosophies, many of them far, far away from the mainstream, that it lacks all coherence. And his universe is full of bizarre theories, entertaining primarily for their weirdness. For example, he posits that the angels in the ancient Hebrew Book of Enoch who became sexually attracted to human women are none other than the Gods of Olympus. It is hard to imagine that readers without Booth's predilections for the metaphysical will find this to be anything more than an earnest curiosity.The two reviews sound like different books entirely. My guess is that the book is meant to be a metaphor -- and treats all the esoteric traditions in that light. The human mind is brilliant at creating metaphors to suggest the nature of reality -- to say that which is unsayable. Maybe the folks at PW took it a bit too literally, but without reading it I can't say.
The book is not going to change any of the minds that need to be changed, but it seems like a good reminder for the rest of us that what the Buddha taught . . .
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”. . . is the nature of truth.