I'm speaking of mythology which unified the individual with the group or the state in a continuum where the original identity of the tribe or ethnicity lies. For example, the Native American tribes had no notion of political freedom and they were unified by blood and divine ritual. This is the kind of compact or 'nation' or folk that was once universal on the face of the earth. It was Europeans who broke from these blood and ritual ties with their revolutionary philosophy of political freedom, equality and indivdiaul rights.
I agree, that mythology per se can be said to posess an existence in the minds and imaginations of the Western peoples, but when it comes to politics they each to a man posess parliaments or other forms of rational deliberative bodies based on liberty and individual political rights. In America there are no blood rights that can make legitimate political claims.
How about the mythology that every person has equal rights, that every person's vote is important to the state - Jefferson's "All men are created equal" mythology.
Isn't the whole philosophy of political freedom simply our modern, uniting mythology?
Sure, it's a revolutionary mythology, but a mythos
that is used to unite our nations into a single polity.
I don't believe so. At least not philosophical justification. The gentiles posessed no philosophy as far as I know. Their ideas are to be found within their religions. The priest held as much power as did the chief, who was usually a war leader. And 'Divine right' is exactly the opposite of equality and individual freedom. The American and French revolutions were carried out in direct opposition to the aristocracy and king. The Social Contract of course is part of Rouseau's modern revolutionary language.
Well, we have to be careful. I think we have to remember that philosophy existed as part of religion until the enlightenment. For Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the practice of philosophy was a spiritual practice.
Sure, Divine Right is pretty well opposed to the Enlightenment concepts of political liberty, but isn't Divine Right still a political philosophy?
I'm saying that there has always been a political philosophy, and that Enlightenment liberalism is simply a newer political philosophy, just as Communism is a still younger political philosophy.
Most ancient schools, Plato's academy for instance, were dedicated to abstract ideas. The Alexandrians were the forerunners of modern scientific academies, it is true, however, you need to understand that the priests were often the enemies of scientific and philosophical inquiry.
Just as today there are many priests who oppose our scientific advances.
Did the Greeks not study architecture, mathematics, biology, physics, ect? From what I have read, they established these fields in the west.
Can you account for the difference in material conditions and standards of living between the third world and the first? How do you account for the differences between the Stone Age and the Space Age?
The same way I account for the differences between the politics of the Stone Age and the Space Age - the evolution of society, the constant change over time of society. We progress, for good or ill, and this occurs in our scientific learning as well as our political philosophy.
Very interesting examples, DT. The skyscraper is of course an office tower, developed by businessmen. They were not developed, for example, as were the Gothic Cathedrals in Europe, out of religious devotion. The U.S. is a free economic zone, where culture is left to the private sphere.
Skyscrapers were designed by architects just as cathedrals were designed by architects.
But I like that line - "The U.S. is a free economic zone, where culture is left to the private sphere" because I think you are absolutely correct. But I think we also have to recognize that individuals can come together, and in doing so they bring their private cultures into a community of shared culture. Hence the predominance of sub-cultures.
But I would also suggest that we have a great deal of shared culture, and that this shared culture is very much like the religious driven shared culture of the past. Let's go back to those skyscrapers.
In the past, the largest buildings were religious buildings and military buildings. Today, the largest buildings are economic buildings and military buildings. It seems that money has replaced religion.
I would say the same of much of our shared culture. Music, television, movies, even most books, are created out of profit-motive. Instead of art created out of religious motive, we have a money motive.
The usurpation of religion by money seems to be the real problem. Maybe that's what you're driving at.
Frank Lloyd Wright was a modernist, of course, who took his bearings from the European modernist scene. I do not say the modernists were not authentic, but they were appealing to mass societies and not in the service of royal Princes and priests, in my opinion.
Sure, they appeal to mass societies, but so did the Cathedrals, so did the Parthenon, ect.
The suburbs, considered a blight by bohemians, is the housing of 9 to 5 business employees. They are not exactly renowned for their cultural expression, quite the opposite in fact. The suburbs have long been ridiculed by artists and poets and other leftists, as was also the 'square' 9 to 5 workers who build and inhabit them. (Of course, America itself has long been and remains today the subject of ridicule for its 'bourgoisie' population and philistinism.)
Oh, but they are renown for their cultural expression!
It's just that many people believe it to be a cultural expression that shows our culture to be sickly.
The establishment of individual rights based on the state of nature teaching and the Enlightenment political revolutions precludes the authentic cultural expressions because they are laisser faire, and if there were any religions they were disestablished in modernity one way or another. Reason came to replace religion and the legislators of humanity, who were once the poets, are now technocrats, at least in the Western world.
I just do not follow you on this notion of authenticity. Sure, the enlightenment culture is different from past cultures, but every past culture is different from the ones that came before them. Culture changes.
It's a very interesting subject to say the least, the changes in culture and the impact of these changes.