Review:

First published in ELPAN No.1

Chains of Empire
English Public Schools, Masonic Cabalism, Historical Causality, and Imperial Clubdom
by P.J.Rich
266 pages £9.95 from Regency Press, London

This book is part of Rich's "Ritocracy Octet", composed of a trilogy about English Public Schools, and a further five books about the Gulf. Rich's theoretical approach is drawn from notions of Morphic Resonance developed by Rupert Sheldrake. This is a revival of vitalism, "the doctrine that organisms are organised by purposive principles".
Rich quotes Sheldrake (The Presence of the Past) - "The process by which the past becomes present with morphic fields is called MORPHIC RESONANCE. Morphic resonance involves the transmission of formative causal influences through both space and time." (p.33).
Rich locates morphic resonance as a tool for Psychohistory. Psychohistory, at appears, has established itself as an academic discourse, with a radical camp (International Psychohistorical Association) and a conservative camp (Group for the Use of Psychohistory in History). Whilst we are naturally indifferent to the squabbles of academics - in full consciousness of the fact that it is academe itself which must be questioned - no doubt we will find Psychohistory a useful source of material.
Rich's book is not much a catalogue of intrigue as often sought by consumers of 'conspiracy theory', but more an appraisal of a whole culture where discrete chats in a gentleman's club is seen as a natural way of dealing with matters. Thus conspiracy is not exposed as a revelation of intimate secrets, but British Imperial Life is exposed as an inscrutable mare's nest of intrigue amongst the upper classes.
With its many illustrations this book is both helpful in terms of the information it supplies and as regards the development of ideas with which to understand the organisation of power in contemporary society.

Return to ELPAN No.1