History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Decline, cultural perversion, false exemplars of secularism, etc…

August 18th, 2016 · No Comments

To see the problems with issues of ‘modernity’, the ‘secular’, it is useful to consider the case of Greece and Rome in the wake of the Axial period. We see that ‘modern’ means ‘epochal new era’, or something like that and could apply to the earlier case, although that might create confusion. We won’t adopt the extended usage, but note the way a source of immense innovations, Greece, lost many of them, even as one of its parallel side civilizations, the Roman, in effect carrying a version of the Greek transformation, nonetheless produced at best a lesser version, and then became an imperial power subject to militarism, neo-barbarism, and especially imperialism. Note the resemblance to the case of American civilization. Let’s be wary of the term ‘decline’ when what we mean is a kind of perversion process. And the US springs from a majestic starting point, and was the source of a first modern democracy, etc…
But more generally we see the way the Roman civilization became much different from anything foreseen in the spectacular world of Axial Greece.
In any case, we see the dilemma the terms ‘secular’ and ‘modernity’: as in antiquity we see that the exemplars are undergoing perversion. Look at the horrible history of the US in the last generation, clocking ‘affairs’ since, say, the onset of the CIA in American life. We could take this back to the onset of the republic itself with its stance toward slavery and the Indians, but the last generation has shown a remarkable appearance of a diseased political civilization, in large part due to the influence of capitalism. The example of Rome has been so abused that it may be counterproductive, but the point is that when we discuss ‘secularism’ we end up with such perverted examples that the whole discussion founders in a hopeless muddle.

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