From the Enlightenment to Business Models. Episode 6. The English Philosophers from The British Empire. Section I.
Changing the tactics.
Last week we were fully dedicated to the German Lands timeline historiography first, and then to the German philosopher’s biographies. Given the behemoth dimensions of our outline content, this week we decided to change the tactics. I prioritized dedicating all this week to reading, reviewing, and verifying (as much as I can) each and all of the most famous figures of the British Enlightenment. I decided to don´t offer historiography of the historic events that happened meanwhile all these individuals were alive, just to give you a soft flavor of what is to try to understand such a complex event without a historic context.
The result will be felt by all of you today. This is a tremendous lesson for all of us. Whenever we wish to read the philosophy books of J. Israel’s proportions, it is imperative first to understand the historic (and historiography) context (time, space, social, economic, political, cultural, warfare, and/or colonial migration) of all the places in which our free-thinkers were residing. Let me explain with a silly example: Just imagine that a foreign man wishes to date me. Before he can make judgments about me, he has to study the historiography of my Salvadoran cultural-historical context. Otherwise, he won´t understand me, and if he doesn´t then he will get the wrong idea of who I am, and he can dismiss me unfairly or to don´t pursue any courtship with me either. The same applies if we use another example: capitalism. If we wish to cure the excesses of our current economic system, we need to go back in time to the roots, to the precedent philosophers’ fathers of Capitalism: Hume, Smith, and others who influenced all the strategy frameworks that we get from books of Contemporary Strategy Analysis. Otherwise, we will be unable to understand the premises of the problem, and in consequence, we won´t do anything right.
Today´s publication without Britain’s history was on purpose. I wanted you to feel what is to read about “quelqu´uns”, or about someone, without knowing what was happening in the places where they were residing. And the result, for many of you, will be hilariously revealing. Only those who already are knowledgeable about Enlightenment Britain’s historic context, or those who are reading our required bibliography (Jonathan Israel books), will be able to understand immediately.
Who was who in the British Enlightenment?
Beyond the perception of what is to know someone from the past, it is clear to me, that we are required to study with specific detailed lenses, all the main material of evidence left by the British Philosophers of the Enlightenment (usually their books and biographies written by their friends or studious fellows). And it is clear to me that without a proper historiography of the context in which these persons were living; it is impossible for us to make sense of their theories. Why? All the philosophers named in this saga were framing their theories and ideas, because of an ancient feudalist monarchical existing regime, in contraposition to a new system of freedom, in which the expansion of these European countries was expansive in the New World. The vastness of the New World, in terms of expectations for all of those who knew what was happening in the new colonies, was factually verifiable, beyond the ruthless and cruel old system in Europe. Let me explain with an example: It is as if the Britain society were fighting because they all lived in a little fishbowl, fighting between other tiny goldfish countries (the Dutch, the Germans, the French, the Ottoman empire representatives, the Spaniards, etc.); meanwhile, the New World was the immense ocean full of freedom to begin something new. If I were a Britain monarch, at that time, I wouldn’t have ever doubted leaving all that bunk of irrational fights behind and deciding to move to the New World.
The New Colonial territories of England didn´t need the old tragedy of Europe in their newly discovered world. The British Colonies’ leaders understood first that the success of their new Colonies in North America wouldn´t occur if the calamities of the old regime jumped over the Atlantic with all the ideological trash that was supposed to stay behind.
The New Colonial lands in North America, still in the hands of The British monarchs (before the American Revolution) were too much of a treasure to consent to an old frame of mind that didn´t support the plans of prosperity for the Colonies. Those who risked it all to start a new life in the 13 colonies of Britain in North America experienced the meaning of freedom. And after 150 years of colonialism, more than 4 generations of British in the New World, also had the opportunity to reaffirm it. The new world didn´t necessitate the old frameworks of religious intolerance, neither the traditional governmental and administrative forms of the “divine right monarchy”, nor the lack of stability of Cromwell or the uncertainty of William III of Orange and Mary Stuart regime. The New Colonial lands, regardless of if Puritan, Catholic, Anglican, or Protestant; were already experiencing substantial freedom with religious toleration in America. Far away from the heritage of the mess of superstition. The Atlantic Ocean separated the “ancient regime” in which the low and middle class of Britain weren´t able to flourish, meanwhile in America, that possibility was smiling to anyone who could do it. The personal freedom that philosophers were battling with letters and books in Britain, wasn´t trouble anymore in America, where anyone could aspire to pass the page and move on… So the Enlightenment period in Britain, which started by the time that Dutch Spinoza died, was in a certain way an intellectual fight of academic mortals who needed to justify what was required in America. The Glorious Revolution (1688-1689) was the slow connection between the British and the Dutch, which 100 years later, triggered (indirectly) the American Revolution (1775-1783) in their newly conquered territories.
When the American Revolution took place (1775-1783), in Britain, the Enlightenment was already in place at the intellectual level. But it was a slow process that started before. What the first radical free-thinkers from Britain did, was simply to unite the dots of the Dutch radicals. The main English Deists as Toland, Collins, Shaftesbury, and Tindal took the evangelization of what the Dutch Spinoza provoked in the Hague and Amsterdam and translated it to the Intellectual class of people dwelling around Oxford and Cambridge. Robert Boyle and John Locke, influenced by Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, and the Dutch radical Enlightenment thinkers, simply made the Enlightenment to be known in Britain, at the time in which the validation of the British Empire was initially flourishing. After that, David Hume and Adam Smith, moderate enlightenment thinkers, took the time to pre-establish premises of the new economic theories (that we still use in our current capitalism), based on the philosophy of all the British freethinkers that we have listed below categorized by order of birth:
- Edward Herbert of Cherbury (1583-1648)
- Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
- Henry More (1614-1687)
- Robert Boyle (1627-1691)
- John Locke (1632-1704)
- Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
- Charles Blount (1654-1693)
- Matthew Tindal (1657-1733)
- John Toland (1670-1722)
- Samuel Clarke (1675-1729)
- Anthony Collins (1676-1729)
- Anthony Cooper Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713)
- George Berkeley (1685-1753)
- Henry Home Lord Kames (1696-1792)
- Thomas Reid (1710-1796)
- David Hume (1711-1776)
- Adam Ferguson (1723-1791)
- Adam Smith (1723-1790)
- Richard Price (1723-1791)
- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
- Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)
- John Jebb (1736-1786)
- Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
- Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)
- Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
- William Godwin (1756-1836)
- William Frend (1757-1841)
- Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Given our tight deadline dates, we have chosen only 18 of the last list of free-thinkers. Half of them have been already completed in the next set of slides. The rest will be given to you next Friday. Additionally, in our next episode, as I did with the German Lands, I will offer to you a timeline of the main chronological events of the History of England from the first years of the Christian Era up to the end of the 18th century. If you have trouble reading the slides from your mobile or computer screen, please do not hesitate to print the slides which are added in pdf format below.
Don´t lose sight.
At the moment I am simply trying to set up the table with all the important variables, terminology, definitions, and famous profiles of the main figures of the Enlightenment in Europe. I am setting the elements of our dashboard analysis for the Enlightenment. I am also helping you to connect what you already know about them, with the historical events that triggered the freethinkers to do what they did. The majority of the radical enlightenment freethinkers who belong to the 1600s, regardless of the country of origin, are individuals with solid and multiple pedigrees. Some were born in wealthy cribs (particularly in Britain), others from good middle-class families, and others from the new emerging merchants or traders families who were importing/exporting and selling goods in their local communities. But all of them have something in common: they studied or had the chance to study under exceptionally excellent tutors, or in the top-excellent universities of their time. Even if some of them didn´t graduate with doctorate degrees, they were dignitaries of intelligence above normal. And they dedicated time to studying a lot. The same applies to the moderate enlightenment notables that belong to the 18th century. On the moderate side as much as in the radical wing, we can find stars who not only got degrees in law, science, physics, medicine, philosophy, and theology, but all of them were prodigious authors of letters, essays, treaties, etc. Most of them (if not persecuted) were able to hold academic chairs (professors) in superb universities. Some were involved in political positions. Meanwhile, others were poets, clergymen, historians or even walking encyclopedia-men. And what amazes me is that they never stopped studying, experimenting, writing, and finding others to review them, either friends or by their same-class peers and international allies. No matter if we find devoted Christians or extreme atheists, all these philosophers that I am studying in detail, never ceased to do research, experiment, observe and scrutinize, and write.
I reassure you that my position as a corporate strategist author is from Christianity and my belief in the Bible. If I am showing you a list of different atheists from the 17th and 18th centuries, I beg your pardon, but we are in deep need to understand who created the premises of our current economic theories. By coincidence or causality, many of these past erudite were atheists, and if their mind was materialistic against God-Christ values, or they denied the accuracy of the Bible, or the Divine Revelation and miracles, then that is why we have now, the type of selfish strategy-economic-business frameworks which are taught to us in business schools. And that is why, I trust, that you are now starting to perceive that something is not well designed. Something is wrong with our business-economic theories. We need to comprehend fully that. Without love for God, others, and ourselves; it is impossible to create beautiful business or corporate strategy frameworks that help all of us to live in harmony and balance. So, I hope that by this episode, you can comprehend the rationale of this saga production. The number of hours that I dedicate to reviewing each of the authors about these past thinkers is taken me more time than I wish, but I do prefer to deliver something good, as always. Be patient. Better going slowly than quickly.
Next week, we will continue exploring the profiles of the Enlightenment figures of the British Empire. The next topic is “Who moved the ways of the Enlightenment, part C. The British Section B”.
Ocean Musical Section
The winner of Leg 2 from Cabo Verde to Cape Town, was the blue team Holcim-PRB. Guyot’s solid position at the beginning of the leg, made me think they could possibly win it, but they changed their strategy once they passed the Equator. In addition, they had to repair a mishap in their boat. In general, I believe it was a smooth ride. The whole summary of Leg 2 has been prepared by the Ocean Race here https://www.theoceanrace.com/en/news/13437_Leg-2-Replay-a-battle-to-the-very-end. Please look at the article, as much as the video below. For us, the lesson from this ocean ride (Leg 2) remains in the contradiction of navigating slowly vs crossing the ocean rapidly. The harmonization of sailing in unpredictable wind velocities is catalyzed by the technologies that help them to verify and plan what could happen next. Nevertheless, there is always a margin of error. Not just in terms of durations of the wind velocity, either in a Doldrum area or in tempest waters next to the Exclusion Zone.
See you next Friday 25th of February. Thank you and blessings for reading to me.
We are waiting to start Leg 3 on the 25th of February. Photo Source: https://gfycat.com/gifs/search/volvo+ocean+race+extreme
Sources of reference are utilized today. All are listed on the slides.
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. All are used as Illustrative and non-commercial images. Utilized only informatively for the public good. Nevertheless, most of this blog’s pictures, images, or videos are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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