The End of Christendom, 1350-1492
- The Plague, killing anywhere from 33-50% of Europe. In terms of population, Europe not recover until mid-seventeenth century. Especially hit the good clergy, as they were first to rush in to help. This added greatly to the corruption of the Renaissance Western Church.
- The resurgence of barbarianism, especially nationalism. Christendom celebrates the universal, nationalism, the particular. First and second nations–both out of Iberia, home to the centralized Visigoths.
- “Christianity rejoices at the mixture of races,” Lord Acton wrote in his famed 1862 essay “Nationalism.” Paganism, however, “identifies itself with their differences, because truth is universal, errors various and particular.”
- “Indeed, modern nationalism has tended to idealize the native cultures of the Western barbarians, and to see the Germans, the Celts, the Slavs and the rest as young peoples full of creative powers who were bringing new life to an exhausted and decadent civilization”–Christopher Dawson
As a subset of this: the “Gunpowder Revolution”
- Man becoming, again, the measure of all things. Attempts at apotheosis; development of modern humanism (quite different from Christian Humanism).
Campanella: “O my art, grandchild to the primal Wisdom, give something of his fair image which is called Man.
A second God, the First’s own miracle, he commands the depths; he mounts to heaven without wings and counts its motions and measures and its natures.
The wind and the sea he has mastered and the earthly globe with pooped ship he encircles, conquers and beholds, barters and makes his prey.
He sets laws like a God. In his craft, he has given to silent parchment and to paper and power of speech and to distinguish time he gives tongue to brass.”
Campanella planned a whole new government: “It was a totalitarian communist theocracy governed by a priest king–the Metaphysician–elected by universal suffrage, and three magistrates representing the three divine hypostases–Power, Wisdom, and Love–who deal respectively with war, science and education, and economics and eugenics. Neither property, marriage nor the family were admitted and the magistrates work according to aptitude, honours are given according to merit and food according to need and constitution.”
The Advent of Modernity. Modernity proves very difficult to define, but it does, usually, include the following five elements.
- Secularism; the separation of the cult from the culture; man as the measure of all things
- Artificial (man made) as opposed to natural; hence critics of modernity often identify it as a poor substitute for reality
- Personal relations/loyalty replaced with mechanized bureaucracy and abstract nation-state
- Focus on the particular rather than the universal
- Ironically, considering the above point, it results in conformity and uniformity