Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Glory of Western Civilization in Video

It was pointed out to me the other day that the incredible accomplishments of Western Civilization are by and large taken for granted these days; taken for granted not only by Westerners ... but by those billions of souls who have benefited but whose cultures and histories have contributed little other than raw material, brawn, and basic design, be it the potato, laborer, or sextant. The sextant, in particular, demonstrates the point in that its inventors were only interested in finding the direction to Mecca so as to pray accordingly ... it took Europeans to unleash the contraption and discover the world.

Indeed, non-Westerners have at times ushered in technological leaps, some lasting for expansive periods (Ancient Egypt) ... but for one reason or another, which we won't delve into here, they have waned.  The West, from the time of the Greeks to the post-modern era has produced wave upon wave of advance, the result of which has been unprecedented health, personal autonomy, and well being for its people.  

It galls me to no end then, that the posterior of our civilization, that being the self-styled "progressive", gets so much traction for minimizing the accomplishments of the West and giving far too much deference to modern day barbarians ... those whose spiritual universe is grounded to Mecca and whose conceptual map is more fitting an 8th Century caravan raider than a delegate to the United Nations.

Enjoy the video below (on full screen), and perhaps feel a bit of pride for being one of those dominating, conquering, inventive, inspiring, free-living, Westerners:

An interesting read ... here.
We are made to think that until Europe started to advance economically in the 1500s this continent could not have been anything else but an undeveloped ‘backwater’. What about the unsurpassed intellectual and artistic achievements of Westerners going back to ancient times: the Greek invention of dialectics, the polis, philosophy, historical writing, prose writing, and tragic poetry; the Hellenistic ‘revolution’ in the natural sciences, Aristarchus and his heliocentric hypothesis, Eratosthenes and his estimation of the earth’s diameter, Archimedes and his foundations of hydrostatics, Euclid and his Elements, (called by Bertrand Russell ‘one of the greatest books ever and one of the most perfect monuments of the Greek intellect’ (3)), the new philosophies of Cynicism, Epicureanism, Stoicism; the Roman republican style of government and their invention of a legal persona, Livy’s massive history of Rome, Tacitus’s Annals, the essays of Seneca, the comedies of Plautus, and the poems of Virgil, Ovid, and Lucretius; St. Paul and his new dispensation and religion for all humans, St Augustine and his confessional penetration into the individual’s inner space, Capellanus and a vernacular literature dealing with love, romance, and seduction, El Cid and a vernacular poetry dealing with the epic, Dante and the placement of vernacular literature on a par with biblical and classical literature, Chaucer and the freeing of poetic diction, the use of participial constructions, and a wider vocabulary with polysyllabic words, Ockham’s nominalism and the view that universal essences are nothing more than concepts in the mind, Cistercians, Victorines, Franciscans, Dominicans and the proliferation of heterodox religious movements, and the democratization and laicization of mystical experience?

These, and so many other achievements, are exceptionally Western and can never be downloaded by other cultures.

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