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Filthy Lucre

The corrupting influence of Venice upon what might have been More’s Erasmian Utopia of England was a theme served up by playwrights to the knowing audiences of the day. Robert Wilson’s late morality play, The Three Ladies of London (c. 1581), focused neatly upon the observed relationship between Venice and London. This play shows the gradual domination of London by the Lady called Lucre (who may be taken to stand for the acquisitive instinct) and the exiling of her virtuous sisters, Love and Conscience. Among the new servants who flock to serve Lucre is one called Usury, and in conversation with him she reveals her genealogy:

Lucre. But, Usury, didst thou never know my grandmother, the old
Lady Lucre of Venice?

Usury. Yes, madam; I was servant unto her and lived there in bliss.
Lucre. But why camest thou to England, seeing Venice is a city
where Usury by Lucre may live in great glory?
Usury. I have often heard your good grandmother tell,
That she had in England a daughter, which her far did excel.

The point is then made that what Venice had been in the past London was now becoming; and nowadays, Lucre concludes,

I doubt not but that you shall live here as pleasantly,
Ay and pleasanter too, if it may be.

It is clear that London was becoming more of a Venice than Venice itself, with the irony of ‘pleasant’ now all the more jarring to a post-Blakean reader, who might dream of establishing ‘Jerusalem’ in England’s ‘green and pleasant land’.

© John Dunn.
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Buber Buber
Having travelled the long and hard road to individuation to develop and purify the active element of being, it was hard to accept that consciousness needs another element, a passive element. However, there is no consciousness without these two elements, and the suppression of this duality in the Spinozist Substance, or the Absolute I of Idealism, must necessarily lead to the extinction not of being but rather of consciousness.
John Dunn

Quote every hour: With one day's reading a man may have the key in his hands. Ezra Pound

Fire meets with fire Fire meets with fire
To be conscious is to be human. Encounter awakens consciousness and humanises. This is where the magic resides. Human consciousness is magic. Mind is magic in the sense that our consciousness as fully human beings cannot be subject to rational explanation.
John Dunn


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