European Rationalism * "Our Pub" Library

The emergence
of Mediterranean and European civilization

by Witold Marciszewski

What relation does hold between the concept of emergence, basic for theories of dynamic complexity, and the idea of culture-forming role of political empires?

The terms "culture" and "civilization" are used here interchangeably, as in Edward Tylor's classical study "Primitive Culture" (New York 1920. 1st ed. 1871) where we read as follows. "Culture, or civilization, taken in its broad, ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." This definition should be completed with saying that this complex includes the whole of products due to the listed capabilities, products being either mateial as tools, dresses, buildings etc., or abstract ones. The latter are embraced with the concept of information as involving myths, scientific theories, systems of law, etc.

Charlemagne's figure in Emperor's Majesty, as visualized by Albrecht Dürer, should direct our attention to the enormous role of giant empires for emergence of civilizations. Especially with respect to Charlemagne's idea to revive the Roman empire in Europe on new civilizational (meaning Christian in that time) foundations. This idea was at the start of the European story of civilization. Its happy end we may figure as the unified Europe's empire.

[To be continued]