Geopolitics and John Dee

The Oxford Science Museum stores two significant objects: John Dee’s Enochian alphabet on a white table with a black font and Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity formula on a black table with white font. With the first table, British science had begun, while the second saw scholarship reach its apogee. Here we have a three hundred year transition from magical metaphysics to nuclear physics. Does this mean that the name of Dr John Dee remains only in the annals of history, and all his discoveries and ideas have lost their operative relevance today? Surely not, since Dee’s intuition is becoming more and more relevant – especially in a modern world, full of socio-political, cultural, and religious differences.

Interestingly, Dee sought to achieve the ‘universal knowledge’, or ‘Gnosis’. The possession of which would allow humanity to achieve harmony and happiness. However, Dee, as a leading intellectual in his era (a scholar holding the largest library in Britain at the time – as well as a man who communicated with exclusive European cultural, scientific and political elites) also soberly assessed every possible route of social progress, along with ways to achieve it. Indeed, he knew quite well that in order to reach global targets, a global power is required. In other words, a structure allowing access to scientific, technical and, last but not least, anthropological advances. In this respect, Dee follows the best traditions of European Renaissance and Humanist thinking, being a pioneer of this ‘worldwide movement’ in England.

Curiously, Dee’s ‘Universal Theory of All’ is represented in his ‘Hieroglyphic Monad’ – a diagram combining the heuristic beginnings of geometry, alchemy and mythology: each, outlined in the spirit of Neo-Platonic syncretism; yet, at the highest level of contemporary scientific thought. Using the Monad, therefore, as a special intellectual key, Dee evolved his political metaphysics – whose main goal was to achieve a worldwide union of peoples and cultures under the wing of the British Crown. Indeed, for him this represented an instrument to influence sublunary humanity.

Later, using Dee’s ideas, Hegel developed his own philosophical and political doctrine of Absolute Spirit as a metaphysical subject for Prussian monarchy. As such, Hegel believed that Germany had taken the baton of leadership from Britain in terms of global progress. This led to the birth of German Messianism, which brought the country (in two centuries) to the Third Reich. Assuredly, history has known other types of ‘domination ideology’, and not only the European ones. Nonetheless, the most successful form of all was laid by Dee’s British paradigm: today, called Anglo-Saxonism.

Overall, John Dee had developed the first foundational draft of global British geopolitics. A plan he initially tried to implement under Queen Elizabeth I. His aim being to unite, under the authority of the British Crown, all Northern lands across the planet: or at least down to the 50th meridian – with the North Pole as the planetary epicentre of magical influence. Hence, those who control the North Pole, control the entire world (of course, from a metaphysical point of view). Herein, one can recall legends dealing with mystical Mount Meru as the axis of the Earth and celestial time: the centre of Kalachakra (wheel of time), mythical Arctogaia (northern land) or the mysterious Ultima Thule (ultimate island), which is located by an alchemical Compass only the wise use.

Additionally, by employing medieval legends, Dee sought to justify the power of the British Crown over northern territories like Scandinavia, Greenland, Canada etc. Albeit finding other cases, such as Northern Eurasia, more complicated, dominated, as they were, by the Russian Crown. Thus, Dee suggested a brilliant step: the marriage of Elizabeth I and Ivan the Terrible – to facilitate a dynastic union, along with the formation of a legitimate lineage. Any offspring becoming heirs to an eventual Eurasian-American empire, which Dee called ‘Greenland’ (not to be confused with the  Danish island of Greenland). But this dynastic marriage was only the beginning. Thereafter, the great Welshman suggested developing the Subarctic lands of North America and Eurasia in order to find a Northern Sea Route from Europe to China and India. A project to be carried out on the initiative of free citizens – i.e. private trading companies. For this purpose, Dee’s agents in Russia, including his son, founded the Moscow Trade Company.

However, these plans were not destined to be realized. Curiously, they were not prevented by Muscovites, but by English pirates, or more precisely, by one of the most famous marques in history, Sir Francis Drake. A man who managed to win the trust of Queen Elizabeth and offer her (instead of the geopolitics of the North Seas), the geopolitics of the South Seas – to Southern sea routes and Eastward. The instrument of this new policy would be the East India Trading Company, which contributed to the colonization of southern lands like Africa, India and Australia. America, conversely, was exploited through the West India Trading Company. Thence, Britain rejected the Northern Eurasia option, thereby allowing Moscow to colonize large areas of it up to Alaska, and even, in part, California.

Obviously, upheavals followed – namely the Anglo-Russian Great Game for geopolitical domination in southern regions of Eurasia directly adjacent to the area of the British South Seas. Moreover, the Game continues even today in the form of endless geopolitical confrontations between Anglo-Saxon and Russian spheres of influence, wherein military and political leadership in the Anglo-Saxon world after the Second World War passed to the USA.

Nevertheless, the role of Britain in the world continues to be extremely powerful. Primarily this is because of the exclusive role of English common law in all those countries formerly under the sway of London: including the United States. More precisely, it is necessary to talk about the continuing influence of British cultural tradition. Assuredly, the rule of law for ‘cultural humanity’ is much more potent than the power of weapons! As the ancient Romans mentioned, the power of the Emperor is different from the power of barbarian rulers, since the first is established on the solidarity of free citizens, while the second on the brute force of coercion.

Further Reading on E-International Relations

Editorial Credit(s)

Daniele-Hadi Irandoost

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