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Bruce A. Burton

Bruce Burton’s The Three D’s: Democracy, Divinity, and Drama (SynergEbooks, 2008) is more than an impressive study of human development; the text is also a quest for a more humane development to arise and evolve, one yet to come, as we are led through the historical footprints to where we are now, where we have gotten to, and where we might yet go. Burton’s ‘narrative’ is a coalescing of religion, the arts, and natural law (i.e. science)…woven brilliantly and steadfastly so as to inform, persuade, and challenge the reader to make the intellectual commitment to comprehend Burton’s greater vision for the human race, by way of a more exacting truth, framed by a more complete picture of our humanity (with all our shortcomings), that our human story is yet to be determined. Burton presents a clear scholarly narrative and states categorically what is yet to come.

Burton knows what’s at stake (beyond the scholarly points and counterpoints) and only by educating the reader does the author truly succeed in moving the discussion from an intellectual tour de force to a plan of action. The survival of the human race is never far out of the discussion, his human concern for our human development. That’s how Burton’s study transforms his impeccable scholarship into a living model for contemporary thinkers. Burton directs the reader to a living history that must be reckoned with, assimilated, and applied to modern instances of culture, values, mores, and politics.

The reader is not simply treated to the “fossilized” footprints of past participants in the unfolding of human development, but Burton projects the unfolding drama of present times, whether we assimilate these ideas or reject them or simply go on to reinvent ourselves.

The underpinning “narrative” commands the reader’s respect. Burton has put forward a comprehensive text based on his extensive research, combined with his uncanny introspection and a certain amount of intellectual genius that the author flexes on the historical journey from Mt. Olympus to America, from primordial thoughts to inductive certitude. Burton presents an all-inclusive cultural timeline, from the pastoral herders to the sword-wielding empire builders. The notion of a society based on honoring women (i.e. The Mother) versus the world built from male domination and belief in a male sky-god.

Burton’s insights and relevant deductions result in a definitive presentation of what Lionel Trilling called “a world view.” The reader is given a complete picture of how people came to believe, think, and express their take on the great mysteries which vie for relevance and take hold in human behavior along side scientific discoveries, practical innovations brought about by realists who simply want a better life, and ultimately, over time, how changing moralities have contributed to a more human code of laws which reflect the real life people live. Centuries become ages, ideas become institutions. Human experience is supplanted by laws. Human identity, once born from mystery and a deep sense of awe, becomes ritualized and are enforced by even more rigid formulations of social engineering.

But conflict and competition in Nature cannot be suppressed indefinitely. Ideas and deep seated natural tendencies act as free radicals. They invade totalitarian systems and make human progress irresistible as well as inevitable. The natural processes of life refuse to be programmed out of existence.

“As a human race we have moments of incredible greatness, not the power and control over things…but power to connect with…creative energy.” In Greek Mythology the journey from life to death and back to life affirms the feminine nature as Earth Mother. Even the origin of language is iambic and maternal (p. 224) and ultimately The Mother is the fusing link between Nature and government (p. 254).

So it not simply intellect (Aristotelian and male) but a deeper sense of being from the human psyche connected to our very nature as “born of women” that the woman “informs” the man how to create “the Universe” so that the two (together as a married team) might raise children…not through an imagined divinity but by self-comprehending Love. Burton asserts that it is only through that “union” is the male psyche able to find redemption because he has embraced the feminine psyche as part of himself.

The tone and stylistic caliber of Burton’s teleologic suggests urgency as well as efficiency in his unswerving march through Time and history. The evidence, presenting as a prosecution, must be judged on the merits of his arguments, by the preponderance of the facts and instances he examines.

History itself is scrutinized for the truth that is also Her-story, a complex intertwining of dynamic human forces that have propelled the human race to advance while simultaneously becoming more destructive.

This is the dilemma that Burton insists that the reader sees with “divine” insight as well as pragmatic logic. It would be a oversimplification to equate perverse behaviors with the rise and fall of male-dominated societies, but the connections are vividly there to be intuited.

Ultimately, worship and/or honoring of The Mother in cultural processes produces more productive, more humane, and a more creative expression of the Arts, spiritual richness of both male and female identities, and (politically) recognition of human rights.

Burton scopes out a deliberate history of human civilization, wrapped in a complex nature that must be deciphered in order to be understood and adopted as the truth about life. Burton’s quality of scholarship in The Three D’s is refreshing, unmistakably pure, and worthy of study. The author has patiently informed, educated, and at last, challenged the reader to align with him in his modus vivendi…namely, to get where we are capable of going as a human race, a race of women and men who have rule over their own destinies.

~ M. Gordon, B.A., M.A. Literature


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