A CRASH course in Elizabethan thinking
And some basic premises of
The human is a subtle being and therein lies the humanity. How we define and understand our humanity is open to change. Or is it? The four basic centres from which humans can define themselves are:
Man is different than woman yet the same (not necessarily biologically, sexually, socially, politically and economically). To be human means to have life, consciousness and awareness of that consciousness. ( Life can be killed, you and animals can be knocked unconscious, and you alone may be unaware that you can be aware).
Society and education impose rules, norms and values on the individual. All of which existed before you were born. Humans are always an inherited sum of what has gone before and the circumstances of their present.
We cannot choose our parents, though with scientific advancement we may be able to specifically choose our children and their traits and predispositions. But is it our genes and social/educational advantage or a loving, caring, nurturing upbringing that makes us what we are? Disadvantage is also a factor on both sides creating health and well-being.
Time is a human concept allowing us to organise life into past, present and future. We can break it down into milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours; morning, afternoon, evening, days, nights; weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia and beyond. There may well be another dimension where time does not exist.
Nature is an extreme and powerful source moving chaotically and unpredictably through the space surounding our Global nature. Nature occurs over time and includes the weather and the seasons: hot, wet, cold and dry.
Everything has its life cycle.
Modern Western thinking can be characterised as logical, rational, scientific, democratic, materialism and individualistic. This type of thinking started in the period called the Renaissance based on a re-evaluation of Greek and Roman writing and philosophy. It was a giant step in the development of humankind. The break-through technology was the Printing Press. Average thinkers could now examine Religious writings and works without the Dogmas of an absolute Divine creator. (i.e. those humans who took that office).
Free Will or free thinking and determining one's own destiny broke away from the old religious idea of Divine predestiny i.e. that your life had a fixed pattern from birth to death created by God. Science is the path that leads us up to NOW, HERE. Western Culture has created itself along a scientific model which began with Renaissance thinkers like Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes. The West has made huge strides forward in medicine, engineering, and also weapons of destruction and economies of exclusion. We can now spin money from thin air.
But some things remain the same. How we treat our bodies and the bodies of others is a matter of Morals. Many of the concepts that we take for granted, like the idea of selfhood, are not eternal truths. Truth itself is a metaphor suggesting there is a realm of Good and another of Bad, which is a matter of Ethics. Or so we think.
Nowadays in the Western world our personal choice is a matter of great importance and significance. Either we can submit to external forces and pressures and remain a slave to the time. Or we aspire to and create our own reality to suit our desires. The Cyber world is a priviliged example showing us that Free Will has really and truly overruled Divine predestiny. Or so we think.
Shakespeare was very aware of the form and pressure of his time and he noted all of its aspects in his writings. The Sonnets illustrate all the above ideas.