- Spiritual Democracy by Steven B. Herrmann
- Publisher: North Atlantic Books
- Format: Paperback
When you trace the history of the Western Hemisphere’s democratic system, certain glaring anomalies emerge.
These fundamental errors, all of which crept into our social structure of accountability from the start, are becoming exposed as the decrepit and festering sores within the fabric of our social structures that they are.
The over-whelming issue that we are confronted with when determining the form of governance that we require as individuals is whether the core structures that governments and democracies are founded upon can be modified to reflect the burgeoning thirst of a growing minority who seek to live their lives with recourse to spiritual instead of purely material principles.
Walter “Walt” Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist who, throughout his life, pushed the boundaries on a wide range of social topics including homosexuality and slavery.
His questioning of the accepted political mores led him to write about the concept of ‘Spiritual Democracy’—a vision of representation and governance that references global equality.
Here, quite clearly, is a man who identified the failings of our established political processes and their lack of ability to connect with the more spiritual aspects of the human experience.
Steven Herrmann is a writer and researcher who has explored the teachings and poetry of American commentators such as Whitman, Herman Melville (1819-1891), and Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).
Through studying their writings, he has uncovered a strain of political thought that might just emerge as an important principle at the heart of the current worldwide up-swelling of political dissent.
In Spiritual Democracy, Hermann distills the essential ingredients of these writers and infused them with the ideas of scientist Alexander Von Humboldt and the well-known Swiss psychiatrist C G Jung.
Weaving a complex thread through the personal, political and social aspirations of these key figures, the author also occasionally challenges, but sometimes integrates with, the accepted basis upon which the Founding Fathers established their core political aspirations.
In concluding his narrative into the thoughts of religious re-union, self-determination and social fairness, he offers ten specific and practical ways to bring peace and spiritually-democratic principles into the world. He closes with an extensive bibliography, endnotes and an index.
Some books are heavy by the nature of their size. Others are weighty by nature of their content. This is a heavy book—it is a thunderous tome which lifts and raises almost immovable objects as if subjecting them to anti-gravity.
Those seemingly intransigent elements to which I refer are in fact the founding principles upon which our society and its governance are rooted. Most of these are currently under attack from a new spiritual imperative that is rising up through the unconscious and expressing itself in disjointed and disparate ways.
Spiritual Democracy is one of those rare books that can help bind all these ideas together and make their expression more comprehensible.
This is a book that has so many levels for you to travel and philosophical paths to explore but of greatest fascination to me was the way that the author manages to draw the core elements of Jungian psychoanalysis out of the dusty realms of analytical theory into the light of a broader and more esoteric landscape.
Whilst 19th century social commentators, such as Whitman and Jung, offered to the world such powerfully transformative ideas about the possible nature of democracy and its failings, they all recognise the need for us to integrate all religious ideas (including a recognition of, and respect for, the human Shadow), modes of sexual expression and inherent sense of universal love long before their time.
Spiritual Democracy triumphantly transcends our limited thinking on the nature of society and harmonises a vital and exciting new vision on what may be yet to come.
Credit: Review copy kindly supplied by North Atlantic Books.