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theiamania
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 08:29 PM
Politics Book 7: "Those who live in a cold climate and in Europe are full of spirit, but wanting in intelligence and skill; and therefore they retain comparative freedom, but have no political organization, and are incapable of ruling over others. Whereas the natives of Asia are intelligent and inventive, but they are wanting in spirit, and therefore they are always in a state of subjection and slavery. But the Hellenic race, which is situated between them, is likewise intermediate in character, being high-spirited and also intelligent. Hence it continues free, and is the best-governed of any nation, and, if it could be formed into one state, would be able to rule the world."

Thoughts? I personally have found this to be generally true. Europeans generally have a noble warrior spirit but are somewhat lacking in the type of higher philosophical intelligence Aristotle is referring to. Although admittedly it is obvious higher philosophical intelligence has clearly been more common among Germans.

Thorolf
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 08:40 PM
"Those who live in a cold climate and in Europe are full of spirit, but wanting in intelligence and skill; and therefore they retain comparative freedom, but have no political organization, and are incapable of ruling over others
We ruledover most of the world for a lot longer than anyone else did. So i have disagree with him. I also wouldn't consider us any less intelligent than other races, which i think is proven by our accomplishments since Aristotles time. Maybe that was true of his time period, but by now we have risen above the rest.

Sigyn
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 08:49 PM
Obviously, Aristotle's opinion aren't the be-all end-all of everything. He lived in a specific time and place. The people to the north of Greece may have been primitive during his time, but that's obviously not the case any longer.


I personally have found this to be generally true. Europeans generally have a noble warrior spirit but are somewhat lacking in the type of higher philosophical intelligence Aristotle is referring to.
What "higher philosophical intelligence"? Are you aware how many philosophers were produced in countries like Germany?

theiamania
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 09:02 PM
What "higher philosophical intelligence"? Are you aware how many philosophers were produced in countries like Germany?


Yes. Thats why I stated among Germans higher intelligence and an aptitude for higher culture appears to be more evident than the rest of Europe. The English don't seem to have the same philosophical spirit that Germans posses. Nietzsche wrote that "They are no philosophical race, these Englishmen: Bacon signifies an attack on the philosophical spirit; Hobbes, Hume, and Locke a debasement and lowering of the value of the concept of ‘philosophy’ for more than a century."

I've found this to be generally true of the English myself. They have a warrior spiritedness, but they lack the philosophical spirit. Generally anyway. Not all of them obviously.

Gall Óglach
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 09:11 PM
The contribution of ancient Greece to western thought is important, but it is choc full of errors. Aristotle also said flys have 4 legs and objects fall to earth at a rate proportional to their masses.


In terms of science and engineering, nobody comes close to northern European accomplishments.

theiamania
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 09:13 PM
And I guess you could apply that same aptitude for higher culture to Norway, Sweden, and Finland too. From my perspective it looks like Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Finland have produced superior cultures than the rest of Europe.

theiamania
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 09:13 PM
In terms of science and engineering, nobody comes close to northern European accomplishments.

Indeed.

Kauz R. Waldher
Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 09:38 PM
We ruledover most of the world for a lot longer than anyone else did. So i have disagree with him. I also wouldn't consider us any less intelligent than other races, which i think is proven by our accomplishments since Aristotles time. Maybe that was true of his time period, but by now we have risen above the rest.

Uhhhh, I like Aristotle and all but, he was way off the mark on this one. Maybe he should have brought up how we war against each other instead of saying we can't rule over anyone else. I'm pretty certain that America and England were ruled by Europeans. And still are for the most part.

Sindig_og_stoisk
Sunday, November 20th, 2011, 09:53 AM
What Aristotle wrote was probably true in his own age: Not much going on in Northern Europe that could stand comparison to the cultures of the Mediterranean when he wrote.

But a lot of things have changed since his time, and for the past couple of centuries the Northern Europeans have dominated the world not only in military and political terms, but also in philosophical and intellectual terms.

How many philosophers and scientists of note have been born and raised in Mediterranean and Middle East countries compared to Western countries over the span of say, the last three centuries?

How can Europeans be lacking in intelligence and philosophical aptitude when we have so dominated and exceeded the rest of the world? If we Europeans lack intelligence, what about the rest of the world that has failed to achieve what we have?

Aristotle still stands as a paragon of wisdom and erudition and should be respected and studied as such. But that does not mean that every single word he had to say is still completely correct several thousands year later.

GroeneWolf
Sunday, November 20th, 2011, 11:03 AM
Like Sigyn he lived during a certain place and time. And one can say that in the time between Germanics have overshadowed the ancient Greeks, while the decadents of the later are not much to write about as a group. The tables have turned so to speak. Bad starting conditions thanks to a more colder climate as opposed to the more warmer climates of the South, but does not necessarily makes someone less intelligent.

But this piece also raises the question how Aristotle defines intelligence. And only when that is know can we proceed with discussing what is the topic of this tread.

However it does to raise the equation that cold climate = less intelligent race; warm climate = more intelligent race. Which would mean that Aristotle should consider Negroes to be more intelligent because of the climate they live in. Alto lacking in spirit.

Unity Mitford
Sunday, November 20th, 2011, 11:18 AM
^ i don't think negros even come into it :D

obviously, it was easier for the greeks and romans to develop than the scandinavians at first because the latter had to contend with surving such a harsh climate... unconquered by rome, the scandinavians took longer perhaps than france, britain and germany

Ingvaeonic
Sunday, November 20th, 2011, 12:18 PM
^ i don't think negros even come into it :D

obviously, it was easier for the greeks and romans to develop than the scandinavians at first because the latter had to contend with surving such a harsh climate... unconquered by rome, the scandinavians took longer perhaps than france, britain and germany

I think that this is essentially true. There wasn't any lack of intelligence among northern Europeans, but contending with the harsh climate and the fight for survival proved a far more compelling use of time than engaging in idle intellectualising and vain philosophical reflections.

The Aesthete
Sunday, November 20th, 2011, 12:19 PM
History has proven him wrong

Erlkönig
Sunday, November 20th, 2011, 05:01 PM
Gracile types have proved more adaptable therefore intelligent over robust types, both types have their uses in a community, however those uses are mutually exclusive.

Karpaten Befreier
Saturday, November 26th, 2011, 12:28 AM
Last time I checked, the Greeks, though they were quite well aware they were the same people, hardly ever united to anything more than city-states. Many of the things Aristotle thought have been proven to be wrong, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, especially on this website, that he was wrong about this as well. To the Greeks, just like to the Romans, they were the centre of the world, and anything outside, no matter how sophisticated and intelligent, was a "barbarian".

Anatomia
Friday, August 17th, 2012, 03:04 PM
Technically the Greeks (Greek peoples) have dominated the world far longer than any north European nation.

The first great civilization in Greece started in Crete around 3D Millenium BC. Those were the Minoans, whose people and culture was absorbed by the Greeks in the 2D Millenium BC. Ever since, the Greeks have been one of the most dominant and influential peoples in the world until the 15th century AD, when Constantinople fell to the Ottomans.

That's more than 3000 years of world dominance.

That said, it should also be noted that on average there were many more Greeks (and other mediterraneans) than northern Europeans. During the Roman empire, Greece and Italy numbered 12.000.000 people, while all the Germanic peoples combined didn't number more than 2.000.000 million.

That said, ever since Northern Europeans started to dominate, they were also by far the most numerous. The odds have changed.

Today, the numbers of all whites are in decline. East Asians are the most numerous. Perhaps it's their time.

Elessar
Friday, August 17th, 2012, 06:10 PM
Aristotle as unabashedly Grecco-centric in his views on "Barbairian" civilizations, much in the same way we in the West view 3rd-world countries. He admired Persia for their skill at dominating their subjects, yet found no merit in their ideological views, finding them to be effeminate and materialistic. To his other hand, he found naked tribesmen called Keltoi who lived under tribal coalition, fought with unparalleled fervor & collected the heads of their enemies to decorate their house with. To any "civilized" Greek, this was unforgivable in character and simply barbaric. Under this cultural milieu, he of course found Hellenic civilization the best equipped for longevity and supremacy, combing both attributes for empire engineering: Principle & Prowess.

It should come as no surprise them how the Greeks became so great. However, his assessment of other Europeans being unfit to rule en empire of capacity of critical thought is incorrect. He, unlike one Poseidonius, never much journeyed outside the the Hellenic realm. Poseidonius, although presumably apprehensive at the prospect of living with barbarians, conducted one of the first proper "ethnographies" of history, notably finding the Druids to be philosophers and astronomers (see Polyhistor/Diodorus/Caesar) rather than the blood-sucking savage which was commonplace stereotype.

These northern people, rather than being less intelligent as he intuits, weren't allowed the privilege the Greeks had being in such proximity to other great civilizations (Persia, Egypt, Phoenicia), being divorced by time and space in the progression of higher civilization. That's not to say the "barbarians" were doing something wrong, as we'll see later on in the course of history, Aristotle will be eating his words when the Hellenistic empire gets subdivided and the barbarians are at the gates of Greece; and Rome (who were also called barbarians) take the reigns. Europeans have the capacity for deep/philosophical thought, as is evidenced by the many Roman/German philosophers, but at that time wasn't top priority.


"...if it could be formed into one state, would be able to rule the world."
:chinrub
We all know who Aristotle's most gifted pupil was.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/MacedonEmpire.jpg