Canadians in the Making: A Social History of Canada

By Arthur R. M. Lower | Go to book overview

28: New gods for old

MODERN MAN, SO IT HAS BEEN SAID, is an infant crying for his mother; at least that is what we are told is the basis for the American cult of 'Momism'.1 Canadians have not been much affected by 'Momism' but not having been able to invent symbols for their own psychology, they have accepted their neighbours'--without knowing the difference. Here, then, close to the centre of being, there may perhaps be found the first of the gods we really worship.2

Man has invariably sought a symbol-goddess. In the middle ages he made a stem masculine Deity share His place with a woman, the Mother of God. Mary received short shrift from the Protestant Reformers, whose Calvinist branches, especially prominent in Canada, suspected her sex in nearly all of its aspects. Yet paradoxically it was this Calvinist continent which gave woman her fling, and made its civilization into an altar to the feminine. In woman's hands, thanks to the wills of deceased husbands and fathers, were the majority of shares in its great corporations. Much of its economic life turned about woman, her necessities and her desires--'the shops', 'shopping', the vast domain of feminine adornment. On a more earthy level, the masses, intent on the life-force, welded to the elemental, to the ewig weibliche which is both mother and wife, had once again brought back the love-goddesses: crude versions of them, to be sure, and links with Aphrodite rather than with the Virgin and Child. But back the love-goddesses had come, and their images, multiplied a thousand times, might be worshipped in any collection of drug-store pornography. Aphrodite, born anew from the sea foam of photographic puffery, had become one of the great goddesses of our new paganism. The reflection of their dreams, the masses had made her, as they always make religion, as in 1273 they forced transubstantiation on a reluctant papacy.

It may be that the female masses play just the same role in fashioning male gods. Once it was Apollo, the beautiful youth:

-423-

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Canadians in the Making: A Social History of Canada
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xv
  • Part I: New France xxv
  • 1: France Comes to America 1
  • 2: the First Impact Of the Wilderness 10
  • 3: the Foundation Stones Of New France 18
  • 4: A Community Formed 27
  • 5: the Community Established 40
  • 6: New France And Roman Catholicism 56
  • 7: New France Reaches The Provincial Stage 71
  • 8: the Lilies Come Down! 81
  • Part II- British North America 93
  • 9: Aftermath of Conquest 95
  • 10: the First Attempt At Living Together 116
  • 11: the Private Quarrel Of the English 135
  • 12: the First Wave Of English Settlement 143
  • 113: the War of 1812, Constructive Conflict 173
  • 14: the Great Days of Settlement, 1820-1850 187
  • Notes to Chapter 15. 212
  • 16: Mid-Century 240
  • 17: the Height of Prosperity 259
  • 18: the Period of Confederation 273
  • Part Iii: Canada 287
  • 19: A Nation Begun 289
  • 20: the New Nation 299
  • 21: A Sturdy Yeomanry 327
  • 22: the Birth of Modern Canada 345
  • 23: the Transcontinental Country 358
  • 24: New Canadians 371
  • 25: the Immigrant Stocks In Canada 384
  • 27: Yesterday and To-Day 408
  • 28: New Gods for Old 423
  • Index *
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