The Universal State of America: Book Now Available

Well, almost a year after I said it was going to take two more weeks, I’m delighted to announce that the book project that I’ve been working on intensively for more than a year, and which is really the culmination of the last four years of work, is finally available. It’s called the Universal State of America: An Archetypal Calculus of Western Civilisation. The book is still working its way through the internet sausage machine but should be available now in most online bookstores including Barnes and Noble, AbeBooks, Amazon, Apple Books, Booktopia (AUS), Amazon Kindle (eBook), Kobo (eBook), Everand (eBook) and more. You can preview the first chapter of the book at Amazon or just click here.

The Universal State of America

Trying to figure out a genre for the book has been a nightmare. Where does an “archetypal calculus” fit in the grand scheme of things? The closest works I can think of are those of Gregory Bateson, Gerald Weinberg and Jean Gebser. I’d call it Humanist Cybernetics, although there’s no complicated mathematics involved. Rather, I make extensive use of story (literature and film) to drive the analysis. The central concept of the book is that of the archetype and its extension beyond the field of psychology to encompass history and also biology, anthropology, literature and more.

Here is the table of contents:

And the synopsis of the book:-


In this sequel to his 2021 book, The Devouring Mother: The Collective Unconscious in the Time of Corona, author Simon Sheridan follows the archetypal breadcrumbs in search of the historical basis for the psychological drivers that increasingly dominate our modern world. Drawing on the work of the great comparative scholars Joseph Campbell, Arnold van Gennep, Oswald Spengler, and Arnold Toynbee, Sheridan expands the concept of the archetype beyond the domain of psychology to integrate biology, anthropology, literature, and, especially, history. The result is a unique synthesis that posits that the unfolding of civilisation proceeds according to the same pattern as an individual human life: a cyclical process punctuated by dramatic periods of transcendence.

Having developed the model, Sheridan then uses it to provide an archetypal history of western civilisation. He finds that the development of the modern West can best be understood as an alternation between the idolisation of the archetypal Father inherited from the late Roman Empire – the medieval era, the Renaissance, Napoleon etc. – and the rebellion against the Father which begins with the Reformation, proceeds through the British Civil War, the US War of Independence, and more. Sheridan combines analysis from psychology, anthropology, literature, film, and history to demonstrate that the archetypal patterns resonate across the biological, social, psychological, and spiritual realms.

The book culminates in a luminous account of the post-war years with the ascendancy of the nation that, more than any other, had rebelled against the Father: the United States of America. Sheridan argues that the peculiar form of politics wielded by the US is the direct result of the rejection of the archetypal Father, leading to an empire that has become increasingly run not on masculine forms of dominance but on feminine; in short, the Devouring Mother.

The Universal State of America is a brilliant work of synthesis. Inspired by the work of Gregory Bateson, it looks for the pattern which connects. It is a hero’s journey about the hero’s journey of civilisation, a descent into the unconscious mind of the modern West, and a return from the belly of the beast. It is a modern response to an ancient challenge: know thyself!

4 thoughts on “The Universal State of America: Book Now Available”

  1. Happy day! Congratulations Simon. I’ve been looking forward to this one – just ordered the e-book, can’t wait to dig in!

  2. Tres Bla – thanks. I hope you get as much out of reading it as I did out of writing it!

  3. Book came in at our university library, as I requested. They had to invent a Library of Congress # (That’s a U.S. thing for cataloguing) which is a first, apparently! For the record: CB245 .S463 2024x

  4. Gerard – many thanks. It’s not quite the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, but I humbly accept my induction into the Library of Congress 😀

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