Monday, January 26, 2009

no great shakes

in the early middle ages women practiced medicine as often as men, but with the growth of guilds and academies, women were sidelined

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, in the region loosely described as the West, religion has lost much of the political sway that it had 100, 200 or 400 years ago. Amongst other things, this has a lot to do with comfort levels. If you look around today, and you look back into history, you’ll find that by and large, religion is more vital and necessary to people whose lives are tough and thankless. If we could visit western countries or regions even further back – 1000 years ago say – we’d surely find it hard to connect the discovered lifestyles with anything we experience in 2009, and even bearing in mind the enormous condescension of posterity we would surely think the people of back then to be a scarily benighted lot. No flushing toilets [first known to have been used in the Indus valley civilization in the third millennium BCE, but the technology was lost when the classical era gave way to early Christendom], no books [not even Bibles, thankfully, though at around this time ‘libraries’ existed among Islamic sects in North Africa and the Middle East, with – extremely restricted  - lending rights], no hospitals [unless you were well-heeled, and those places, run almost entirely by monasteries, were fine for rest and recuperation, and some communal chanting, but not for too much else] and no nightclubs [well, probably not – we don’t know terribly much about medieval dance joints; in any case we’re still a few centuries early for the first big craze, the danse macabre]. Life, especially for the poor, was a bitch, and then you died, the life expectancy in Britain at the time being somewhere between twenty and thirty years. If the Vikings didn’t get you, the next famine would. 

The above constitutes an entry, probably the first entry, in part two of a new book I'm trying to write. It has the working title Versus Religion. Part one is called Science, as in Science versus Religion. Part two will be called Politics, or maybe Secularism. I'll be focussing on this project instead of my blogs, since nobody reads my blogs anyway. Time to go for publication again. I'll post much of the stuff on my blog anyway, just in case I get a nibble.

I like the idea of writing in bite-size pieces like this. 



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