Elizabeth, the movie played on the History channel on Sunday this weekend, followed by Elizabeth, The Golden Age. I could only manage the first, given the depth of religious cruelty, savage brutality and character assassination that created the culture for the physical violence.
Catholics and heretics vying for the "realm" revealed an intolerance in the 'christian' world that makes the contemporary violence perpetrated by radical jihadists look 'normal.' Or at least somewhat normal.
In four hundred years, the people of the world have not moved very far toward authentic tolerance, a kind of celebration of the larger bounty of the world's people, and the natural beauty that confronts everyone every day.
We are a mean little race, jealous, intemperate, indivious, small minded and unrelentingly vicious to those whose background, including their parentage, is held against them, by people in power as role models. We are a selfish race that takes more easily than it gives back; that grasps more than it offers an outstretched hand. Oh, individually, there are many who disprove this thesis; and it is always individuals that generate hope, certainly not groups.
In fact, loyalty to groups, especially groups of religious (radicals) is one of the most virulent forms of human violence that history demonstrates. And when political and religious goals become one, there is no limit to the degree of violence that humans of all colours, stripes, and incomes are capable of perpetrating.
Burning people at the stake for their religious views, as this movie depicts in its opening scenes, is very hard to confront in 2010, yet we all know that similar violence is the norm in many parts of the world, notwithstanding the efforts, some of the successful, that have been expended to moderate violence around the globe.
One cannot watch this film without reflecting on human nature, its addiction to power, and its grasp of the instruments of power, including violence, to seek selfish goals, and the capacity of the individual to withstand so much as Elizabeth I withstood for a very long reign.