Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The City as Religion.

The City is a strange thing. Older than England, older even than the English language it has a history that merges with folk-law. How may it be understood? It has parades and ceromany. It has gods and spirits. Is is a city state? Is it a local authority? I argue no.

The City is religion.

A photo posted by Richard Ford (@richard.ford) on
I hold that the City can best be understood not as a feudal city state, nor as a local authority within the United Kingdom, nor as a conglomeration of capital. The City may best be understood as religion.

Let us examine the facts.

Religions have creation myths. One of the first duties of religion is to explain how we all came to be here. All religions have sought to do this although the creation myths differ.

The City partially side steps this via the time inmemorium principle. In other words the City has always existed rather as Christians believe God has always existed.

This is a legal fiction to explain why the City can defy central government and the monarchy. The foundations of the British state are well known while the City remains a mystery. If the City is the senior body then it seems quite natural for it to have great power.

From a Christian point of view the time inmemorium principle also explains why the City makes deals with the Devil while remaining Christian.
A photo posted by Richard Ford (@richard.ford) on
If the City is older than the Devil then it is natural that the City should have authority over demons in much the same way it has authority over kings.

Religions also have moral codes. The large picture is of St Lawrence Jewry. It is unusual in that there are two books in front of the pews. We have the Bible, of course but we also have the Rules for the Conduct of Life pictured here. This is a largely secular guide to conduct that all Freemen swear to uphold.

Religions also have a profusion of parades costumes and artifacts. The City certainly has many of these. It also has a number of allegedly magical artifacts including this stone- the London Stone- this is a sort of spiritual foundation stone for the entire City (legend has it that the City will fall if the stone is taken).

Religions use beauty to inspire their followers. There are a tremendous number of buildings here that are so beautiful that one stands transfixed with a foolish grin on ones face until the magic passes. Much of this carries a moral messages such as this wall in Postman's Park devoted to everyday heroism.

A photo posted by Richard Ford (@richard.ford) on

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