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Thread: Western Civilization = Greek creativity, Roman discipline and Gothic Will to Power

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Western Civilization = Greek creativity, Roman discipline and Gothic Will to Power

    I think I've figured out the idea behind Western Culture. It's a synthesis native to Europe only, which explains, at least to me, the massive cultural gaps between the Russian "plain" attitude and the transcendentalism (for lack of a better word) of India.

    There's three basic ideas - Greek creativity, Roman discipline and the Gothic Will to Power.

    How I managed to put Greek creativity in there is obvious, it drives European culture. Roman discipline and self control underlies our ethics, how we conduct ourselves, defend ourselves, our families, our honour and way of life - the idea of Imperium Romanum never really died - it moved on to Charlemagne, the First and Second German Reich's, the British Empire, Napoleon, and the Third Reich, Fascist Italy.

    The third and last element is the Gothic Will to Power. A bit of historical information might be worth putting here, in case people think I'm referring to the subculture of western youth.

    The Goths were divided into two massive tribes/clans. They were a Germanic population. The Visigoths, or the Western Goths smashed the Roman legions, flooded into France, Italy and Spain, torched Rome and crossed the Mediterranean into North Africa, and then faded. The Ostrogoths did the same to Hungaria, Greece and Turkey - before Anatolia was taken over by the half-breed Muslim creatures we see occupying German cities.

    I say the Gothic will to power because I think the term Gothic rather than Aryan should be applied to Western Civilization - there is little in common between the Faustian west and the handful of Aryans left over in India or the Iranians. The Goths, at least as how I see it, could be seen as the spark of the Faustian west, although this drive was supressed under Christianity for several hundred years, the drive to conquer infinite space still remains - though now combined with the Greek drive to create and the self discipline of the Roman legions.

    I'd be interested in seeing what others, particularly Moody Lawless, think about this idea.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    On Aloysha's encapsulation of 'Western Culture';

    It is a synthesis, but it is also a branching out - a going out on a limb - a dangerous crossing of the abyss.
    The rope between the human and the Superhuman;
    The risking all, the blasting off into the Void of Space.

    You have missed the Old European pre-Celtic substratum, giving us the worship of the feminine and the communitarian ideal.
    There is also a distinction to be made between the Faustian and the Promethean based on the above.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    I can agree with that. Yes, I did miss out on the Old European culture I wouldn't mind learning about it - a link between that and the seemingly absurd respect Western man has for Western women is something that would not suprise me.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Senior Member Tautalos's Avatar
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    There is, perhaps, a common point between the West and the Aryan East (India and Iran): the non-submissive behaviour of people within society, when relating to political power.

    It is a fact that Persia had the almost all-powerful King of the Kings, but that is probably due to oriental influences from non-indo-european folks.
    Before that influence, the power of the monarch was limited by the power of the other nobles.

    Indeed, the political form of power, amongst Indo-Europeans, is the aristocracy, while the common people have their own rights (even if Caesar said, about the Gauls, they the peasants were completed subdued to both aristocratic warriors and druids).
    Caesar, and Tacitus, noticed the love of freedom of the Germans (that made the Germanic tribes more rebellous and dangerous than the crowds of disciplined oriental «slaves» of the great oriental civilizations, such as Egypt).
    Greece, the shapper of the Indo-European Genius par excellence (at least, in Europe), created Democracy.

    And the West developed that tendency to the uttermost expression in the last centuries.

    That tendency is the tendency not to submit. The tendency to face any obstacle, and remove it, and go beyond any opposition, either fatal and natural destiny, or ruthless tyrany.
    It is the spirit of Prometheus, who dares to use the divine fire to surpass most of difficulties than humans faced, before discovering fire. It is the spirit of Faust, who refuses old age. It is the spirit of the western man of all ages, who allways fought against all the diseases (finding new cures once in a while), and that discovered new continents, with the Portuguese expansion, and that could touch the moon, in 1969.


    Regards,



    Tautalos

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    There are several levels which one always must think of and include in an idea of Western civilization: the all-Indo-European, the different Indo-European cultures of which "the West" only is one special form, even if the greatest; then the old, "buried" cultures and beliefs of the direct European past; then the limits of the West, the Occident (the old question: "Russia and the West"); then the question how much "the West" is a direct continuation of Greek-Roman antiquity or something different, even if it is its heir; the big old question: did Christianity become through a process of cultural-spiritual amalgamation an integral constituent element of Western Occidental spirit (or at least, if not totally, in some respect), or did Oriental Christianity always only overwhelm and stifle European spirit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aloysha
    There's three basic ideas - Greek creativity, Roman discipline and the Gothic Will to Power.
    I agree. If one wants to put it even more in the nutshell one could speak of "Gothic" spirit on the fundament of ancient culture.

    Greeks and Romans were indeed from character different and strike as the two people of the European classical antiquity in almost worrying perfection to two sides which are contrary and so complement: the Hellenics as the people of the ideas, the soul, the dreams; the Romans as the people of the hard facts,of power, discipline and reality. And Greeks and Romans form together the European antiquity and have to be seen at last in a certain historical-cultural unity, as also destiny leads them together then (though the Romans as history-creating people are the "younger" people).
    A similar phenomen in the later "West" in a narrower sense then are the different characters of the nations, especially of the greater, leading and forming ones.

    I have a little problem (which can be removed after some short reflexions) with the term "Gothic" for the spirit of the Occident after the Völkerwanderung. If we are honest it would be historical rather correct to speak of "Germanic" and a Germanic stamp which at least the whole west of the continent became then. This is meant independent or at least in a much broader sense from what today are the Germanic-speaking countries. I mean that that what became later the European nations at least in the Germanic-Romance part of Europe, is a result of the foundation of different Germanic tribals kingdoms on the soil of the rotten Empire and more north (no matter if they kept the Germanic or adopted the Romance language). One shouldn't underestimate that the Occident, which at last calms down after decades of confusion and disturbance and arises from the fog clouds of the Völkerwanderung, is in its basic character as a whole and in its single elements a Germanic "creation" - even if its basic character constitutes through the fusion with the ancient civilisation and through the fusion with the folkish-cultural determination of the original population of these new European peoples and nations.

    So "Gothic" at last isn't such a bad term if one doesn't want to speak of Germanic, because this could be misleading. But then one always must be aware that the term "Gothic" as a great spiritual-ciultural expression has adopted a meaning which leads it far above the narrow-strict sense of an adjective to the Goths. The Goths themselves have to be taken here in their folkish life and actions, in their spirit and destiny more as a representative symbol of something great and big, as the "spark of the Faustian West", as you said.
    "Gothic" also has the advantage that it is used as an architectural term of a great European period where in ecclesiastical buildings the men of those times tried to express and reach the Faustian infinity.

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    You might want to seek out some sort of organizing principle here. Otherwise, you'll end up with an enormous list of qualities, markers and variants.

    One that might allow you to assign weight to this or that characteristic is Dumezil's tripartite system.

    • Priest (+thinker, scientist)
    • Warrior (+aristocrat, lawman)
    • Producer (+craftsman, farmer)


    This might help to create context. If we compare the farmer-turned-warrior in the north west to Russia, we see in the Russian conscript a firmer rooting in peasantry. If he falls, he is a martyr to Mother Russia. The Western conscript is expected to be or become professional grade and his favored heroism is making a disproportionate showing - especially a last stand (Thermopylae, Alamo).

    Roman discipline (if it includes Roman duty) applies to all three 'castes' but most prominently in warrior. Different emphases are placed in the various IE cultures of particular elements of character. The divergence can probably be attributed to:

    • Time, drift
    • Mergence with chthonic culture
    • Genetics (other than Time, founder's effect + substrata)

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    The tripartite thing has been shown to be particular to Aryans - the three main castes.
    In terms of development, it reminds me of Hegels triple movement of development [he actually got it from Fichte];
    Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis.

    The resultant Synthesis can then become a new Thesis as the triple process continueth.

    Therefore, what we call the West is a synthesis of the old Aryan [Thesis] and the Old European pre-Aryan [Antithesis].

    Prometheus is often associated with the Left, while Faust is associated with the Right. Again, indicative of the Process.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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