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We all have choices to make in our lives. How do we know if our decisions are the correct ones? How can we tell if our judgment is sound? Will the abandoned choices, the lost options, the lives we never led, haunt us like spectral reproaches? Will we be surrounded by wraiths of lives unlived, wistfully staring us and wondering why we didn’t come to join them?

The human race collectively is no different from individual human beings. It has its choices to make, and often it makes the worst possible selections. Are we living in a perfect world? Then why not? What went so badly wrong? Clearly, our choices weren’t the best ones. What makes us choose disastrously en masse? Whatever happened to the so-called Wisdom of Crowds? If they’re so smart, why is the world so dumb?

Is it true, as the Illuminati assert, that the West lost an entire millennium because of Christianity? Was it this strange religion that sabotaged our progress to our own Eden? What might the world have looked like if instead of the rule of the Catholic Church for 1,000 years (from the last century of the Roman Empire to the time of the Renaissance), paganism had prevailed?

If the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate had successfully checked the rise of Christianity, would we now be living in an earthly paradise? To imagine what the world might have looked like, we have to go back to the ancient Greeks, the founders of Western civilisation.

Catholic Christianity was, of course, indebted to Greek philosophy in many good and healthy respects, but there was an ingredient in Christianity that proved toxic. This ingredient was Jewish Messianism, something that had nothing at all in common with Greek philosophy and culture. This alien presence wreaked havoc. Without it, the West would have developed radically differently. Stoicism, Mithraism or Julian the Philosopher’s preferred religion of Neoplatonism would have shaped the West, and there’s no doubt they would have done an enormously superior job.

This is the story of an alternative history of the West, one where Christianity never happened. The tale of this bright world that never was begins with the pre-Socratic philosophers of ancient Greece, some of the greatest, boldest and most imaginative thinkers of all time. This is the tale of the infinitely mysterious Quintessence.

Published: Mike Hockney on Oct 27, 2011
ISBN: 9781465972187
List price: $3.99
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