The historical separation and then mingling of church and state is familiar to us. The religious life in its innocence had been a retreat from the vanity of the world, until violence and vanity adopted a state (& statutory) religion. Statutory religion goes hand in hand with innocence hiding in priest holes.
In Britain, the custom of primogeniture (in which eldest sons have inherited whole estates) has meant that the church (along with the military and the law) provided highly-lucrative, dignified and influential livings to the remaining sons. (Daughters have been offered as sexual lures for the elder sons of other influential and propertied families.)
Today we have a related though in some ways dissimilar story. Oil technology is the engine of the large commercial corporations which have behaved increasingly like the old dukedoms. Those corporations are supported by a reformation of science doctrine, just as queens, kings, dukes, thanes, lords, squires and the wealthiest peasants were justified in theft by the reformation of Christian doctrine. The ways we work, shop, holiday and travel are, for the most part, decided not by ourselves, or by those we elect to represent us in central governments, or local councils. They are dictated by the ring roads, retail parks, housing estates, factories, pack-houses, air ports, super markets and so on provided by the corporations. Similarly, the ways we seek medical care or schooling are sliding greasily under the druidic/corporate wing. Our outlook on that world is conveniently suggested by druid-financed newspaper and television. The BBC sits firmly within that outlook. To an outsider, it may appear that a new and populist reformation of science has caught fire, – but as in the Sixteenth Century, the fire has been spread, not by the populace, but by the powers. Arch Druid and king-maker Rupert Murdoch has spread the protestant good news simultaneously with the corporate enclosures.
So perhaps history is reversing. Once, retired bishops entered power in the House of Lords. Today, retired government ministers enter power in the houses of oil, pharmaceutical and chemical companies, or the various retail chains & their bankers……
Corporate “think tanks” and “government inquiries” also have revolving doors.
Of course, properly-sceptical, diffident, uncertain science survives obscurely in priest holes – usually after a day job is over.
Likewise, proper technology may be curiously devised by trial and error in quiet garden sheds….
Perhaps, after the day job is a new time of hope in which a germ of solutions to the craziness of the times might grow – and when the bonny road may become visible through the crazy mist, winding into the ferny brae.
The road is invisible to the powers and so perhaps we can travel it unmolested – rebuilding a culture and its economy as we go.
As a farmer I’ve stepped intermittently to and from the road, because too few customers for my produce have yet joined me – in the convivial town centres and proper shops of natural physics, where together we can trade, converse and make something of our lives.
However, I hope that as real economies expand and retail parks shrink, we can offer the powerful a bargain they cannot refuse: – Become idle and frivolous again. We’ll grow the wheat and we’ll bake the bread.
How we can do so, with atmospheric carbon dioxide exceeding four hundred parts per million, in a world of pillaged resources, degraded soils and inappropriate infrastructures is a question waiting for an answer. Ideas will not do. We must make a start and learn from the series of mistakes, which will follow. That is the only course. It is the Fairy Queen’s road – and also, I must say, the one travelled by Don Quixote.