The Norman invasion was the greatest catastophe in the history of England (and of the British Isles); because the Normans (for all their higher intelligence and talents e.g. as warriors, administrators, architects) were basically evil. As a ruling class, and in stark contrast to the Anglo Saxons and Celts; the Normans and their legacy have been unspiritual in nature, hostile to real Christianity.
Even nowadays, it can be seen (in the eyes) and felt (by the heart) that the Norman descendents and those assimilated to them have 'something missing', are lacking in 'soul'. I would regard this as related to their service to evil. Face-to-face, they are not fully human; although often good at pretending.
Yet, starting from this insight, we can ask why this was 'allowed to happen'. Terry Boardman argues throughought his work that - yes, the Normans were evil, and also they set-up an ultimately beneficial interaction.
This mortal world is not meant to be a paradise of ease and comfort and pleasure - but is designed as a place of learning from experience; aimed at attaining and benefitting our eternal resurrected life.
Thus evil is not just tolerated, but may be deployed for optimal benefit (within necessary constraints of human agency) - and something of the kind happened with the Normans. (Note: The 'process' actually occurs primarily at an individual level, not by groups; and every individual is a mix of good and evil - even though they will serve one side or the other, overeall. Clearly some individual Normans have repented, been on the side of Good, and spiritually beneficial.)
The Norman ruling class provided skills and perspective; a challenge which the English spirit could grow-against; and that led to England becoming a world power and achieving the world-transforming industrial revolution - and at the spiritual level bringing-forth the 'consciousness soul', with its separation of subjectivity from objectivity: this providing the ultimate basis of spiritual freedom (a necessary step towards greater divinity).
But for the English to go beyond the consciousness soul and on towards the destined Final Participation required that the English spirit overcome the Norman - and this has not (or not yet) happened. The Norman-derived English Establishment have instead (pretty much) ideologically taken-over the world (US, UN, EU), and are well-advanced in imposing their long term goal of totalitarian materialism in service of their evil masters.
So, the Normans have done a great deal for us in a spiritual sense, but that good now lies more than two centuries in the past; and it is by now long overdue that the English spirit resisted their long-term idological colonisation; and overcame their corrupt-and-corrupting rulers.
What we need to do is the same whether or not you agree-with or understand the above analysis; but it is helpful to know your real enemy, esepcially when they are so powerful and influential - and therefore avoid mistaking your enemies for your allies.
The Norman stuff is all very interesting, particularly in view of theories about Jesus being a sailor and having visited Albion, and England having a special "place". But I want to comment on this:
This mortal world is not meant to be a paradise of ease and comfort and pleasure - but is designed as a place of learning from experience; aimed at attaining and benefitting from our eternal resurrected life.
I think this is more important, and worthwhile, than many people realize. It rings true intuitively, based on my experience, that so much of what we do - and fail at - HAS to have some learning-value.
Many sincere Christians will have had the experience of desperately wishing to avoid some certain sin, but failing and sliding into that sin time and again, to the point of despair, throwing up one's hands and saying, "How many times will I have to fail at this?"
And I believe God's answer to that, very patiently, is, "As many times as it takes to learn."
This is in stark contrast to the medieval Catholic theology of mortal sin and "states of grace", etc, and the paranoia and anguish that that theology engenders, over failing even once.
(I am not here intending to pick on the RCC but it's one of the main bones of contention I have with that theology.)
"What have the Normans ever done for us?"
They introduced the cider apple into England.
@Matthew. Yes, the difficulty with understanding the idea of life as experience and learning is that it also requires other beliefs such as all Men being God's children and that divination can only be freely chosen, and that learning is both individual and at this level also voluntary at this level... In other words we need to have a very different set of assumptions than modern people. Probably this can only happen when these assumptions are intuitively known by the specific individual person. This is blocked for many by the pseudo fear of falling-into wishful thinking.
When I was a boy I was very indignant about the Norman Conquest and especially the fact that they won the battle of Hastings by, as I saw it, cheating. I even wrote a story about how Harold had survived the battle and gone into hiding, ready to reclaim his throne. I forget how it ended!
On the plus side they did build a lot of beautiful churches and imposing castles even if the latter were intended to stamp their victory on the locals. It's strange how wounds of nearly 1,000 years have still not properly healed.
@William - I think that probably these wounds ought Not to be Healed, exactly; but we ought to be aware of the 'sides' that have been so important in our history. That we have mostly been ruled by aliens who did not identify with the people they ruled, is an important fact about us - and a stark contrast with pre-Morman times and some other places, where there was a tradition of love between monarchs and their people. That this situation continues, and is increasing, is more obvious with every month that passes.
Well the Anglo-Saxons ruled a people who were predominantly Romano-British by origin with a soupçon, later, of Danish. And yet people don't bang on about them in the same rather lurid way.
@d - No, because they weren't like the Normans! Not many have been. Over-familiarity has blunted our perception of the extremity and evil of their tyranny; what their behaviour, over hundreds of years, reveals of the Norman mindset is truly appalling.
This would explain the extreme animosity of the English-speaking elites towards their own peoples. I haven't seen anything similar outside the Anglosphere (including my country), maybe because our people are as corrupt as our elite.
"the extremity and evil of their tyranny": the Anglo-Saxons kept slaves - after a while under the Norman aristocracy slavery had died out. Eventually, presumably some time after the Black Death, even serfdom died out.
Under the Norman aristocracy (but no longer under a Norman royal house) Magna Carta was extracted from the King, which remarkably was not only a claim for the rights of the aristocracy but for the rights of all freemen. Ditto the Charter of the Forest.
As far as I know, the Anglo-Saxons didn't rule over the indigenous inhabitants, so much as they merged with them to form the English people. Much as is happening in Alaska, actually, between the Inuit and (primarily, it seems) men from the lower 48. (I have an idea for new Arthurian story, where Arthur buries the hatchet with an enemy Saxon King by marrying his daughter off to the Saxons son. Other writers have given him sons not present in the earliest stories, and it would be a nice bridge linking Arthur to the English people).
England has one folk hero of note, and he's one that the socialists always try to co-opt, as the aristocracy did before them. No wonder; an independent Yeoman farmer who rebels against the government to give the people back what is rightfully there's is a dangerous story that might give people ideas. I don't think it's just coincidental that Chesterton was English (and The Chesterbelloc 3/4 English). Distributism does seem to fit the independent English spirit.
C - 'folk hero' - I guess you mean Robin Hood?
@d - Some of the 'evidence' is in the first hypertext link - https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/search?q=Norman; but that is just material consequences consistent with the matter at issue. I am not likely to convince you, because you don't believe in the reality of the spiritual phenomenon I am discussing. Metaphysical differences in assumptions cannot be settled by evidence.
It's not really a "guess". Surprisingly, Robin has shown remarkable resiliency to being co-opted. The aristocracy tried making him one of their own, but he still shows up as one of the common people in stories today. The socialists try making him one of their own, but I don't see it sticking. The old fox always slips their grasp.
One's sentiments need not be logically consistent, but how do you square your Royalist sympathies in the English Civil War with your antipathy to the English ruling class?
@Cererean - I get the feeing that there is much less affection for Robin than there used to be. A reveival would be a good sign.
Interestingly, it may be that the versions of Arthur that place him in the post-Roman Celtic age, may have assimilated some of the aspects of Robin - since such Arthurs often lead a kind of Greenwood existence. And Celtic kings were not Normans!
@Karl - My feeling is that the Roundheads were fuelled mostly by negative emotions; mainly by resentment - as became evident as soon as they had won. They knew what they were against, but had no inspiring positive spiritual vision.
On the other side, Charles I grew to be a saint and martyr throughout the war, a Father to his people.
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