Republic of Heaven

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The Republic of Heaven, in Philip Pullman's philosophical fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials from 2000, refers to the idea that humans must build their happiness in the here and now, and that the official Church's emphasis on the afterlife is no more than a diversion by the powerful to repress the common people, even by the monarchical sound of its name: the Kingdom of Heaven. The idea for the Republic of Heaven was not introduced until the final volume of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, but the reader learns of the virtues required to "build it" throughout the course of the trilogy. This results in the concluding remarks of protagonist Lyra Belacqua, when she ponders these virtues and deems them the reason for living. This idea is clearly humanistic in nature and makes the trilogy one of the few works of fantasy to dispense with spiritual themes in favor of humanistic virtues.[original research?]

In the trilogy, the Republic of Heaven originally referred to the physical world that Lord Asriel was building in an uninhabited parallel universe as part of his rebellion against the Kingdom. The world was intended to be a completely free and king-less society with each person having the responsibility of creating an ideal lifestyle for themselves and others, without the control and oppressiveness of the church. After learning from John Parry that conscious life can only develop successfully in its own world, however, Lyra and Will learn that they must create the Republic at home using the ideals of hard work, cheerfulness, kindness, and patience. It is implied that it is up to each person to build the Republic of Heaven where they are, "because for us," says John Parry in The Amber Spyglass, "there is no elsewhere."[original research?]

King Ogunwe once said to Mrs Coulter (in pages 210-211 in Chapter 16 of The Amber Spyglass):

The phrase 'The Republic of Heaven' was coined by Gerrard Winstanley, the seventeenth century English Christian radical and leader of the Diggers in the English Civil War.

Winstanley wrote (quoted in Christopher Hill's The World Turned Upside Down):

Winstanley's ideals underpin much of the philosophy of Pullman's epic. Pullman comments:

Further reading[edit]