A compilation of my notes from the book: Plagues and Peoples, by William H. McNeill (1976); complimented by my summarizing sub-headings.
As quoted by the Lancet behind the front cover of this book,
Professor McNeill is an American historian with a sound grasp of epidemiological principles.
As McNeill points out himself in this book (which can be seen immediately in the notes to follow), historians systematically gloss-over the significance of epidemic disease.
In choosing to read Plagues and Peoples third in my sequence of pandemic-themed books, I identified it as the one most complimentary to Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year: for while the latter is “the prototype of all accounts of great cities in times of epidemic”, the former has to be one of, if not the most substantial attempts at a historicalinterpretation of epidemics (—which is quite distinct from an epidemiological interpretation of history, I would add).
This article features a selection of quotes from the book Homo Deus, each accompanied by my notes, comments, and references to related media.
Part 3 of this article series features my expansion of Ncaps 31-40 for the book Homo Deus (as discussed in the Introduction, which also includes the full list), as a basis for identifying points of significance and referencing a variety of relevant media.
Themes covered in Part 3 includeDialectics of Government, Principles of Revolution, Submission to Authority, Continuity of The Establishment, Emotional Decision-Making, Elite Minority Rule, Conceits of Modernity, Social Instability, Civilized Barbarism, Collectively Believed Fictions, Society as Entrapment, Hindsight via History, Suppression of Awareness, Ideological Bio-Engineering, Prophetic Sci-Fi, Modern Forms of Religion, Rationalized Immorality, Incongruous Speech, Hypocrisy of Civilization.
This article features an introduction to the concept of ‘Allegory’; followed by a preface to four important ones (two parables, a fable, and a fairy tale), leading to commentary on each one, along with references to films and related media; and concluding with a list of the relevant links.
Allegory is a technique used by authors to embed a deeper meaning into the surface of a story, which produces two main effects. The primary effect is that it conceals the very fact that it contains an inner meaning at all, from all but those whose mind is critical in observing fictional works; and this makes it an esoteric mode of communication.