To The Australian In defending Shakespeare from narrow-minded critics, John Carroll has provided a convincing psychological explanation of the anti-cultural behaviour of post-humanist individuals and groups currently attacking the Western European civilisation and its canon ("The Bard's big Q & A", 3-4/11). However, he makes a great mistake in asserting that the very basis of that culture is non-existent. There has been no "death of God" and Christianity still prevails. Nor is it true that "belief in God" has given way to "belief in humanist ideals". As for the "universals of goodness, beauty and truth", these have their basis in the sacred order on which humanists like Carroll have, in error, turned their backs - as do the "absolute standards" he gestures towards.
Culture is not rooted in myth, as Carroll claims, but in a metaphysical reality that is approached through a faculty quite other than the logical reason: gnosis. His historical survey entirely omits reference to the writings of the great mystics such as Boehme and Eckhart. He also ignores the profound restorative work in metaphysics carried out by Rene Guenon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and their Perennialist school. It is from this blindness that he proceeds to unrealistic claims that "religion and politics are quite separate", that "politics does not belong in the classroom or the lecture hall”, that Western masterpieces are "apolitical" and "do not, collectively, point in any particular direction." They point to the Ultimate, and there is nothing to fear from political action wisely deployed!
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic