Friday, August 21, 2015

What is Western Thought?

The west, western culture, western civilization and western thought are the subjects of this blog. I intend to explore the quality of western thought and the effect that it has had on today’s world. I hope that you will help me in this exploration but first I must define this term-- western thought. Western thought, as I see it, is the culmination of ideas that started with the Greeks and was brought to fruition in the European Renaissance and the Enlightenment. These ideas may have begun with the Greeks but these ideas are an amalgamation of many cultures and creeds.

Western thought is not one thought or belief. It is a diversity of ideas that have created both conflict and concord. If freedom is the ideal of the west then slavery was the negation. If Adam Smith’s economics is the engine that has powered America to world dominance, then Karl Marx’s communism is dogma that has contended for its own supremacy. Yet—both these men were raised and educated in the West.

Now, at the start of the 21st century, I have to ask what western thought has brought us. If you look to the negative then it has brought the world to the edge of economic collapse, unleashed the horrors of terrorism and caused our certain demise from climate change.

So what should we think of these ideas and beliefs that have brought us to these desperate times. How should we view western religion – whose main creed is of that of peace and love—yet has created so much hate and war. And what of science and industry, which has led to the invention and operation of machines that many say are bringing about the demise of the planet?

I intend, like Descartes, to break the theories of the west down to the smallest concept. To examine each part for what truths and falsehoods it holds. I believe that when I reassemble what I have deconstructed that it will adhere. It is because western thought is so diverse that it can adapt and change. It can evolve as it did to end slavery in this country, as it did to end the soul crushing power that Soviet Communism held on Eastern Europe. And it will solve the problems the world faces today.

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