Chronicles and Geographies
The Holinshed Chronicles, first published in 1577, contain an account of the history of the British Isles from the division of the earth in three parts by Noah after the flood until the reign of Elisabeth I of England. One of the most expensive printed works of all times, the Holinshed Chronicles were first conceived as a comprehensive history and geography of the Globe. The project proved difficult and too large for a single book. The entrepreneurs had to settle for a history of the British Isles, mostly focused on its crowned heads.
Other world systems
A similar project was undertaken in France with the compilation of an Encyclopaedia that contains the sum total of human knowledge on all known topics. The very idea of encyclopaedic knowledge answered the need for an exhaustive system of interpreting the world in its entirety that arose around the time the notion of one globe emerged in the scientific imagination.
In Germany the efforts culminated in the introduction of the Humboldtian model of higher education, the university, as a place that promised to collect, transmit, and produce knowledge about the entire universe.
No matter which point of view we take the idea of one globe, one universe, one world ends up reflecting not the world, but the culture in which it originated. For the English intellectuals it was history and geography, for the French it was a linguistic nominal system, and for the Germans theory. Naturally other nations made similar attempts to organise the world in its totality, most recently the pioneering efforts of the United States and Russia to produce images of the earth from the cosmos.
Politicization of the Idea of the Globe
Early in the twentieth century a political philosopher, Carl Schmitt, also focused on the idea of one world. In his Nomos of the Earth introduced the notion of a global political order modelled on the British global empire that ended up fuelling the most sinister regimes humanity had ever known. His ideas continue to inspire dreams of global power realised by very irresponsible individuals with the monetary power to move masses of biological human material across the globe.
Unlike applications of Schmitt’s basic ideas that are less informed, unreflected, and not very well thought out, the original philosopher of the global order was aware that the establishment of a global power in the world would inevitably lead to permanent civil war in all countries. We are beginning to experience this painful reality in all of its cruelty and brutality.
A seemingly innocent idea that arose in Renaissance Europe that had served the production of knowledge, culture, and literature, has culminated in a dreadful dystopian political reality that we are just beginning to confront.
The Literary Globe
By contrast, the Globe in the literary imagination under the protection of the Crown, served as the occasion for the development of the richest and still operative theatrical legacies in the English-speaking world. The Globe Theatre is almost synonymous with Shakespearean theater.
Unlike Holinshed’s Chronicles, organised by the objective parameters of time and space, Shakespeare reflected the linguistic, cultural, psychological, ethical, and aesthetic reality of the English imagination. It’s not the Globe in its objectivity he aimed to reproduce, but the endless variety of the inner world of the English-speaking subject, which contains the world from the English point of view. Shakespeare was the beginning of modern literature. His works opened a door to an infinite world of marvellous poetry in prose and verse that continues to inspire to this day.
But Shakespeare could not have achieved his status without the protection of the Crown, a symbolic rather than an instrumental power, that much like a wedding ring, serves as a token of an eternal bond between the people and their culture, between the people and the crowned head of the monarch, indeed between the people and the Globe. To understand a people we must understand the history of its crowned heads. The idea of organising the historical chronicles of power in one book originates in the Biblical narrative. The Bible is the origin of the idea of one world and must remain the reference point. The New Testament refocused the narrative on the idea of language as the only origin of the human world. It placed language in all of its manifold splendour at the center of human history and at the center of the human world.
The Christian Crown takes its symbolic power from the Biblical narrative recorded in the Book of Revelations where Christ the Saviour enters a matrimonial bond with the Church, his flock, and becomes its Crowned Head. All Christian Crowns follow this principle of marriage between the monarch and the flock. The Crown is the wedding band guaranteeing the preservation of a legacy like that of the British World, not a world for the world, but a world for the individual English speaker, today every subject in the vast Commonwealth and the United States.
Long live our Gracious Queen, keeper of the faith and protector of the nations of the Commonwealth!