PATTERNS AND TRENDS IN HISTORY
Prof. Dr. Şahin Uçar
First Edition , Konya, 1986
Second Edition , Istanbul, 2004
Third Edition , Ankara, 2007
- Patterns and Trends in History, 9
- Historical Thought and Education in Turkey, 90
- Curriculum Vitae of the Author, 99
Preface for the third edition:
This is the third edition of “The Little Book”, as I called it and it is surprising for me, too, that I am obliged to write a new preface for the new edition: The reason is that though it was originally written in English for a “colloquium of historians” and was previously published twice in Turkey; surely, I would not expect a third publication of it: it is because my publisher wanted to publish all of my books; and it happened so…
However, there were some printing mistakes in the second edition as well, due to the neglect of proofs of the publishing drafts; and the text needed some improvements for those mistakes or forgotten articles like “the” or prepositions alike. One of my friends has read the text of second edition and made some minor corrections for the style or phrases as such. Namely, I have to articulate my gratitude for Ayhan Cemal Kaya, for his proof-reading and advice about style.
I do not want to overstate the story of the booklet; it was written long ago, in 1984, from the point of view of “ever-increasing alienation trends” in history. That was written at the beginning of my career; and then, as a young man, I had not had necessary experience for this seamless and most difficult subject of philosophy. Although I have written some other articles and books about my view of history; I do not suppose that my writings are “well-articulated” and satisfactory in any way; thus, I am still trying to articulate my standpoint and my thoughts about history and humanity. Right now, this prospect seems to me as a hard, long, and laborious way: needs much more hard working for many years. But, time is flying: Tempus fugit… And I am not sure that I can write a readable and satisfactory book about such complicated and demanding matters of philosophy… Ars longa, vita brevis.
What can I say right now? Yet it is my incantation: May God help me and my readers!
Preface for the second edition:
This book contains the second edition of “Patterns and Trends in History”; with a short paper (read in an International Symposium of History, Turkish History Institution, Ankara, 1986)which is added as an appendix and this appendix also includes my C.V. So, the reader may find out from my C:V., other books written by me on the subject.
This second edition of “Patterns and Trends in History” was originally written for The Historians Colloqium ( held at Fırat University, Elazıg, 1984). It was published in Konya as a long article in a periodical of Faculty of Letters ( Selcuk University, Edebiyat Fakültesi Dergisi,1986) and it is about “cultural patterns” and “alienation trends” in history. The subject is taken from the perspective of alienation Which I borrowed from Hegel. Though, I had learned many aspects of the “philosophy of history”, from the history of the subject and improved very much my historical perspective and orientation since then; I would not neglect this simple first articulation of my view about history, as a long article “lost-in somewhere”; so, I wanted to publish it again in book format. So be it.
PATTERNS AND TRENDS IN HISTORY
“Bismillah. Summun, bukmun, umyun; fehum la yerciun.”
Koran, II: 181
“Esrarı ezelra ne tu dani vu ne men
In harfi muammara ne tu hani vu ne men
Hest der pesi perde, guft u guyi men u tu
Çun perde berufted ne tu mani vu ne men.”
“Since we can not change the reality, let us
change the eyes which see it.”
A Byzantine Mystic.
The Subject of History:
“ History is the teacher of life” 3, ancient Romans said, yet what is history in fact? That’s the essential question. In my opinion, history must be useful in a way that from which we have to learn how to live and how to organize the world; otherwise it would be useless; and as The Prophet says: “O God, I take refuge to you from useless knowledge!” 4 Why, if history is conceived as the record of events which happened in past ages, it fits for nothing! What about the present – time in which we are living? And ‘Quo vadis Domine?’: Where do you go our Lord? From where we have come, and how it has become possible that we live in a dangerous world again? And is it still possible that we have a future yet? What is becoming? What will come out of it? Then, what is history? W. Durant says: “most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.” Let us repeat after the fashion of Mr Durant: “to begin with, do we really know what the past was, what actually happened, or is history ‘a fable’ not quite agreed upon?” 5 Historians are obligated to answer, if possible, all of these difficult questions…
The subject of history is not a mere recording of past experience of humanity, but an interpretation of the story of humanity. Without interpretation, it would be comparable with reading a book without understanding. As Carr has shown, it is impossible ‘to record’ without interpretation anyway (see What is History, E. H. Carr). We can interpret history as an art or as a science, but the philosophy comes at first; as soon as we encounter historical data, we are apt to it: Historical documents are ‘deaf, and dumb, and blind’; it is the historians who use them – and speak for them. Interpretation of history, in turn, would give us a new worldview, a ‘new weltanschauung’, in which we see the world in the light of history-in-progress’; so that, the historian should reach a new understanding – level for the situation of the world. He may gain an insight for the situation of his own culture with reference to its particular condition from which his relative worldview is also bred. B. Croce said: “History is philosophy and the philosophy is history.” We could make use of historical investigation for the synthesis of knowledge and create a new worldview. As the world changes rapidly and we are taken aback astounded, we need this desperately at the present – time; since we need a new orientation. I think, the historian is better armed than any scholar for this kind of philosophical investigation: and this will be my approach to history.
I suppose this special purpose is within reach of our present – time level of knowledge if we may be permitted to regard history in a broader manner; pushing the limits of historical subject to a little farther, we may see the social sciences as ‘geisteswissenschaften’ (historical sciences) and employ all the material –provided by them as a whole – for the use of history as auxiliary sources. There are differences of perspectives, yet the subject of them is the same ‘one reality’; and we may seek the substance of it taking into account different point of views. Absolute reality is not attainable by words, reasoning, or meditation it may be felt by intuition, yet as soon as it is articulated with words, it becomes wrong because of the restricted capacity of language. If so, we only seek a perspective for a general framework of things-in-order. Now then, let me explain my perspective of history.
“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.”
Essays: R. W. Emerson
A Perspective of ‘History-in-Progress’:
I believe there are some patterns and trends in history. I will try to explain them as short as possible, but to justify my convictions, I have to show conclusions of my epistemological presuppositions from which I have drawn my opinions; for my idea of history depends on those presuppositions.
“Truth is a concept relative to particular cultural standpoints, and hence no judgement, whether moral, mathematical, aesthetic, or philosophical, can have ‘eternal’ validity.” 6 In addition to this cultural relativism, I could add that our truths are the ‘fictions’ of our way of reasoning. As Vaihinger has shown, they can be useful ‘fictions’, at their best, for dealing with reality (See The Philosophy of “as if”, Hans Vaihinger). There are those deductive and inductive inferences of reasoning, but they are useless for historical method, because history itself is another mode of thought. As it is comprehensively expressed by Spengler; “the essential concepts of natural sciences are the concepts of causal uniformity and measurability, and “the natural world”, the structure of which is stable, presents the appropriate field for the application of these.” (7) Deduction and induction could be useful for the study of space, not for time; as a temporal science, history needs a different approach. Spengler is right when he says: “the subject matter of history, on the other hand, comprehends the ‘becoming’ as contrasted with ‘become’; all is flux, development, variety, particularity, life; to imagine that it can be interpreted in terms of quantitative formulae or construed as a quasi – mechanical system is consequently absurd.” (8) As a survey of developments in nature and man, as a genesis in time, history is the third way of thought which depends on intuition and imagination: it needs ‘ver stehen’ by ‘einfühlung’.
We are accustomed to spatial reasoning, that is to say, deductive and inductive inferences. As a matter of fact, deduction needs a synthetic – a priori which is acquired through an ‘intuition’ of duration, continuity of nature, and causal relationships between things (that means, every kind of knowledge and reasoning, in the last analysis, depends on intuition). What is the construction of scientific theory, is ‘to reason’ pertaining to space. It can be quantitative and coherent without any contradiction, and must be interpreted in a substantial determinism. It is the contrary way with history. You can not measure the time, because it simply does not exist in the scope of our senses; if you conceive it as a straight line, and use some standardized time intervals which resemble spatial reasoning it will certainly distort the essence of historical facts. Nor contradictions are so important in historical thought –as it is the case in logic- because life is full of paradoxes, and because time means change, and the historical facts are not stationary; unlike the static facts of spatial sciences, they are dynamical facts always and ever – changing in time, and becoming different – to – themselves facts. History is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same!
There is no strict and materialistic determinism between historical facts, but it seems they move purposively to a final goal. Our intuition and the idea of time, give us not only the idea of determinism, but finality. It is due to the nature of the idea of time that, there in history; we see some teleological developments, even a fatalistic conception of history of which we conceive from the progress of events. A more strict necessity, in comparison with spatial relationships, appears with autosuggestion in this subject, because we already know the results of developments in history. We have to accept this idea, as if it is a mere truism. Anyhow, we could not avoid this aspect of history, however hard may we try. In history, as Tolstoy stated once; “without necessity, we arrive at absurdity.” Necessity and finality, that is, fate is built in the nature of the subject, because a temporal science it is (see War and Peace, Epilogue, Leo Tolstoy). Time and fate are almost synonyms.
It is so, even while we unconsciously try to give it a spatial character; that is when we speak of the history of an area: states, civilizations, maps, etc. (treated such as, they are in geographical terms). The old speculations of history have all made this mistake of confusing time with space (even Spengler’s morphological understanding of cultures is restricted both in time and in geography). Yet certain elements of necessity and finalism remain in them; even while it may be uncalled by the author in certain places, it will appear in the subject. This is why I accept the burden, to show of finality, to speak of patterns and trends in history.
I am not speaking of models, but patterns. Human perception needs a design for apprehension; and the term ‘pattern’ is more suitable then ‘model’ for history; I use it as a variable scheme, not a spatial, but a temporal one, proceeding in the course of time. I’d rather use the ‘rhythm’ for its temporal implication, if the ‘pattern’ had not been much used and get used to. P. Bagby says that, “in virtue of being the ‘patterned’ and repetitive element in history, ‘culture’ is history’s intelligible aspect.” 9 There are some patterns that designate the individual behaviour of the members of those cultures; in a way, the pattern of culture is ‘built in the nature of personality’ of the individual member of culture. I take it for granted that it is the most important aspect of history, because it is not ‘unique’ (Individiuum est ineffabile); therefore it makes sense to choose it as ‘the unit of historical study’. Why not civilizations but cultures?
It is not only because the term civilization reminds me of a restricted geographical area which the civilization spreads on it, but also because, our perspective of history has been changed. Because of the global problems of today’s world, we are forced to take a different approach to history; and as it seems from this standpoint, the meaning of history has also been changed.
Not only historical facts but the meaning of history itself, changes in the course of time and that is the problem of ‘historicism’ namely, historical relativism. There is a historical relativism for the term ‘historicism’ also. 10 I can not discuss the problem of ‘historismus’ here, in a restricted place, but I will only state that I regard this term positively as E. Troelstch sees it. Historismus includes every kind of knowledge and experience, in the light of a historical progress, and in contrast with ‘naturalismus’, it it not a mere generalization of inductive inferences. As Mannheim also stated, ‘Historismus’ is a basic ‘Weltanschauung’ – as a radical understanding of the world subject to change and pertaining to time – to form a contrast to the understanding of ‘eternal’ and ‘out of time’ quality of reasoning so particular to the theological worldview of ‘middle ages’. 11 When you feel the need of a different interpretation for the particular age in which you happened to live, you have to take a different approach to your subject with your intuition, and imagine to see it from this standpoint; then you gain a new perspective, then and only then, everything seems to you in a different light; new details are enlightened for you; and a new understanding –level is obtained – that’s illumination.
“‘The imagination’, said Coleridge once, ‘sees all things in one’. It sees the endless flux of the unfathomed sea of facts and images- but it sees also controlling form. And when it acts on what it sees, through the long patience of will, the flux itself is transformed and fixed in the clarity of a realized design.” 12 If you have no vision, the chaos of elements remains as a chaos. A vision is nothing more than a perspective; with perspective, you see the things from your point of view, that is to say, in an order.
There are many sides of facts; accordingly, there may be many perspectives. In history, your perspective must not be a spatial one, so to speak, but it should be an order in time. Only from this standpoint that one could see, there in time, exists a rainbow. As a matter of fact, there is no material existence of any rainbow in nature, but you can take a picture of it. In fact, it is a special relationship of light with the ‘events of ‘raindrops’ which are refracted and reflected in a particular time, and with your point of view enables you to se the spectrum of colours gently diffusing to each other: it is the spectrum of a broad sunlight in a meaningful order which you can see as a rainbow, ‘de facto’: With many diversities of colours, yet seven colours from violent to red, even though all of them make a ‘one and white’ sunlight when confused together: I think it is a good metaphor for history.
When you have this time-dimension as a viewpoint, you see the unique events of history as parts of a meaningful order; therefore they are explained. It is not separate ‘cultures’, but cultural periods or rather ‘cultural conditions of historical periods’ which I take as the ‘colours of the rainbow’ which is seen from my standpoint. Civilizations, only, take place since ten thousand years, but cultures as old as humanity. I want to take a ‘holistic’ point of view, so I prefer to study ‘cultural periods’ instead of civilizations. “Minute analytic questioning,” J. Dewey said once, “this evil, is usually at its height in such subjects as history and literature, where not infrequently the material is so minutely subdivided as to break up the unity of meaning belonging to a given portion of the matter, to destroy perspective, and in effect to reduce te whole topic to an accumulation of disconnected details all upon the same level.” 13 So ıt is with culture and civilization terms. I will precisely define my usage of terms later: let me say first what I mean by ‘cultural periods’: Once upon a time, all men were gatherers, then they have become hunters, then agriculturists, and then, nomad, industrialist, and post-industrialist societies. It should be noted that these are ‘cultural periods in time – dimension’, not in space.
Time was a recurring cyclical process while humanity has been living as gatherers, hunters, agriculturists or nomads (day and night, and month, and year, all were cyclical periods from where the idea of time was coming). From the beginning of industrialism to the age of Atomic Bomb, time was a linear progress. Today, we have learned from Einstein that the ‘time’ is relative to space! In spatial sciences, the idea of time is disturbing and unnecessary; you may consider it as the fourth dimension of space: there is space, and motion, and their relativistic situations- and the ‘time’ is unnecessary: What is, is only space!
But the contrary idea seems to me equally reassuring and good; in macro – astronomical perspective, there is only time; and the ‘space’ is only its one dimension. A light – point emerges in the dark vacuum of space; begins to move as an enlightened – point (a mere point in the vast and dark vacuum); and dies in time; there is no more light, and nothing remains at all! Aye, nothing remains forever… It is a question of time –duration, not matter, that is seen and cognizable from that perspective. Stars are light–candles and eyes of angels who are moving in the vast and dark vacuum of universe and dying in time. Now then, we live in time and I have come to a different idea of relativism. Time is not a straight line anymore, but it is curved! Let us turn to our perspective: there are gatherers living even to this day, and hunters, agriculturists, nomads, and so on. There is no past, present or future, but time here. Ibni Haldun says that past and future resembles each other as two drops of water. What is ‘past’ for us, is the ‘future’ for some primitives; and what is ‘future’ for us, is the ‘present’ cultural situation already for some post – industrialist societies.
“In the beginning God gave to every people a cup of clay, and from this cup they drank their life.”
A Proverb of the Digger Indians.
Patterns of Cultures:
This is the largest subject one has to contemplate upon it, and I am aware of my own shortcomings; besides, I can not expose all of my epistemological reasons of these conceptions because of the restricted space I have allowed to myself in this article. For example, the concept of culture has been discussed by many famous scholars, yet remains a great deal to discuss about it. I know the danger of over simplification if one takes the subject with ‘bird’s eye view’, neglecting the details by too much schematizing, particularly for a subject as broad as history. But I am forced to define only my own understanding of concepts; consequently, I will only try to show merits of this perspective of history; and the readers of this article should consider their worth of illumination if not elaborately and completely treated such as they are. So I will try to define the concepts of cultures and civilizations, in a way, as short as possible.
“When I hear the word culture I reach for my gun”, declared the poet Heinz Johst… In anthropology, culture is that which men create for themselves and transmit to their successors by other than biological means. Most theorists would probably say that language, tool – making and the regulations of sex are the chief defining features of man in contradistinction to other primates. ‘Cultures’ are particular historical realizations of the common human potential. Archaeologists more often define it as the material culture.” (14) Philip Bagby’s definition is, ‘regularities in the behaviour, internal and external, of the members of a society, excluding those regularities which are clearly hereditary in their origin.’ According to A. L. Kroeber, culture is transmitted by the inter-conditioning of ‘zygotes’; it is supra personal and anonymous; and it falls into patterns or regularities. 15 T. S. Eliot says that culture is an ‘incarnation’ of the religion (See Notes Toward the Definition of Culture). And yet I add en-other definition: it is the whole way of life, the Tao, represented by a people.
Even though, there are different cultures created by different peoples, yet there is a limitation to those differences also – as I already indicated – conditioned by the historical phase of the people whatsoever they happened to live in. That is in a broad perspective of historical periods we have to treat them as gatherers, hunters, nomads, and so on, I have to discuss it, very briefly, owing to the particular importance of it to my speculation.
Ruth Benedict has emphasized the diversity of cultures and said that, ‘the diversity of cultures can be endlessly documented, but nevertheless there are some patterns of cultures’; and borrowing her terminology from Spengler, she has interpreted three of them. According to Mrs. Benedict, every human culture has a set of values that distinguishes it from others. Accordingly, what is considered true, good or right in one may not be so regarded in another. In her now classic ‘Patterns of Culture’ (1934), R. Benedict analyzed the basic structure and character of three primitive societies: The Zuni Indians of New Mexico – peaceful, traditional, and co-operative; The Dobuans of New Guinea – hostile, treacherous, and paranoid; and the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia – competitive and status seeking. She observed that the specific traits of each of this three primitive cultures were variously repeated among the advanced cultures. She regarded these peoples as primitives, but only Kwakiutl Indians were hurters, Zunis and Dobuans were agriculturist societies. According to my perspective, agriculturism represents a more advanced and totally different cultural phase, so it is only natural for them to have a distinctive cultural pattern. E. E. Hagen discussed the matter in a broad manner; he said that there are traditional societies and non-traditional societies; and according to him, their cultural traits, as built-in-the-personality of their members, are different from each other (On the Theory of Social Change, E. E. Hagen). Sorokin identified three super-clusters of cultural systems: ideational, religious, sensational (See Social Philosophies in an Age of Crisis P. Sorokin). There are many other theories of cultural systems, and of course, they have their own point of views, but none of these theories could explain why this is so. Because, there is not a historical perspective here, wide enough to explains those facts comprehensively.
Now then, I will turn to my perspective and try to explain the diversities of cultures and civilizations in the scope of it. Most of the history of Mankind has passed while human beings were only gatherers. Even today, we can observe a people, so-called Tasadays, as gatherers of what nature has provided for them; and even though, they were taught to hunt animals by their discoverer who was from a nearby living tribe, Tasadays did not see a necessity to hunt and gave it up. There arises the question: can we know that the first communities of Mankind were living like Tasadays?
Robert Ardrey, in his “African Genesis” (published in 1967), had claimed that, ‘even primates live as proprietary colonies’ and defend their colonies with fierceness and communal violence; that using weaponry was hereditary in human beings; that Rousseau’s idea of the ‘Golden Age’ was only a romantic fallacy, and so on. But Tasadays had been discovered in 1971, in the Mindanao Forest of Philippines, and they knew only sex regulations and language as cultural traits; they knew not any kind of violence, nor any other disgraceful human trait whatever it might be. They are the last of innocent people: and this is the ‘first period of the life of Humanity’ which is going on to live side by side with us. As for the question of resemblance to the first period of history, my answer is: it could be so and must be so, for hunting would require a more developed cultural ability which the first communities of mankind would have lacked. Tasadays live in our time, yet they are in the first phase of the history of men. “‘Nothing is more gentle than man in his primitive state’ wrote French philosopher J. J. Rousseau two centuries ago. His theory about the human condition seems borne out by these Tasadays, who must now depend on the protection of the 20th century for their very survival as a people.” 16 It is sufficient for our reason to demonstrate that such a life as theirs was, and is, possible. It was all but forgotten, as a human condition left in the beginning of time; yet we have to accept it as a ‘culture’ because of their language and family life.
We can observe as many hunting cultures as we like; we have full accounts about them thanks to the field works of anthropologists. Some of them have such elaborated cultures that when we compare their culture with the so-called civilized people; we see some of their cultural traits are better and wiser than civilized people’s. Margaret Mead compares Samoan education of sex with that of her culture, and finds it better than Americans of 20 th – century (Bkz. Coming of Age in Samoa, M. Mead). Mr. Turnbull examined the Pigmies of Ituri Forest living amongst them for three years; and highly praised their human dignity in comparison with our Civilization of 20th – century (Bkz. The Forest People, C. M. Turnbull). There are those Northern and Southern Indians of America, African tribes, Australian Aborigines, Arctic peoples of Asia and America; and they have all had their particular religions and cultures if we like to emphasize the diversity; yet they have one over-all cultural pattern which I name as ‘hunting cultures’ there may be, unimportant for my purpose, differences yet; this is because, that second period of human condition is so long, and ‘durable’, that it has arisen in the dawn of humanity and continued ‘to exist’ until the so-called ‘20th – century’ (Whatever the meaning of 20th – century might be, it is only an arbitrary term). Of course there would be many other cultural phases of developments; and consequently, some little differences in so long a historical period (according to anthropologists, it is approximately 500.000 years now, from the time of first human being ‘Peking man’) and in so large a world, as the old world was, in which they could live even without knowing the existence of each other. There is diversity in unity and unity in diversity.
But if there is too much diversity, as it is described by R. Benedict, what could be said about it then? As I already mentioned, we should not regard agriculturist peoples as primitives in the same level with hunters, but what about the distinction between Dobuan and Zuni cultures which both of them knew agriculture? C. M. Turnbull writes about a people called “Iks” who have the same cultural traits of Dobuans, even worse than Dobuans, so that, as bad as possible one can imagine. Mr. Turnbull says: “… I judged them so harshly before I understood what ‘progress’ had done to them.” 17 It is a masterpiece indeed; and I have to restrain myself from quoting too much of this shocking book. What’s the matter with Iks, is this: They were hunters of the Kidepo Valley of Uganda; and the government forced them to change their way of life and to become agriculturist in the name of ‘progress’. To hunt the animals of Kidepo Valley was forbidden, because the valley has become a ‘national park’ then. The mountainous land in which Iks have been living was no good for agriculture: it was a forced progress which resulted in starvation; and Iks have become the devil-people for the sake of progress: namely, cultural shock… It was the same cultural shock, that is, to be forced to change their old ‘way of life’, which made Dobuans so wretched. Neither the land had provided a fertile soil, nor the sea, a sufficient fishing facility for them; they were hungry most of the time starving to death like Iks. We should not regard their struggle of life with starvation, as a different ‘cultural pattern’ in these extra-ordinary conditions; instead, we have to conceive this transitory condition as a cultural-shock phase. When we leave our traditional way of life, we have to get ready for a ‘culture-shock’ lesson, by definition.
A chief of Digger Indians and a converted – Christian, whose talk is narrated hereon: “One day, without transition, Ramon broke in upon his descriptions of grinding mesquite and preparing acorn soup. ‘In the beginning’, he said, ‘God gave to every people a cup, a cup of clay, and from this cup they drank their life.’ I do not know whether the figure occurred in some traditional ritual of his people that I never found, or whether his own imagery. It is hard to imagine that he had heard it from the whites he had known at Banning; they were not given to discussing the ethos of different peoples. At any rate, in the mind of this humble Indian the figure of speech was clear and full of meaning. ‘they all dipped in the water,’ he continued, ‘bud their cups were different. Our cup is broken now. It has passed away.’ “This is a good way of describing a culture – shock: Our cup is broken now…” 18 From now on, I will use this figure of speech, “broken – cup”, to describe the culture – shock.
“You are not… Adam said and stopped. He looked at the dragon again, but it gave no sign that it heard him… like the others, he said. He looked at the magnificent thing, and looked back at the beauty of the gazelle and leopard not far from her. And he said again, you are not like the others.
-So you say.
-You have the word, Adam said! Like the God.
-And you also.
Adam: D. Bolt
Civilization and Alienation from Nature; Alienation Trends:
In ancient Rome, there was a God of Gates, Janus, who was worshiped as the spirit of all beginnings and ends: e.g. when they decided on war, they opened the doors of Janus Temple: And there was two faces of Janus, looking in opposite directions. There is the same quality of being two – sided for history: From the standpoint of our perspective, we can not see the other face of it; we can only imagine what would be look like the other side. For instance, civilization has the same meaning, in comparison with culture, of to be cultivated and refined- but the other face is different. All human societies have cultures of their own, but not every society has happened to be nourished in a civilization. As a Janus-faced subject, civilization has been fostered and evolved in culture, and become a superficial over-culture; and then, dominated and shadowed the original culture taking its place. Civilizations developed particularly in city life, and because of class division, it was employed by leisure classes: and with their unnatural flavour and superficies, it has tended to be more and more alien and unnatural in relation to its native culture: That is, culture had begotten another culture, but with a genetic degeneration. It was then two cultures, living side by side for a short time, but this degenerated one, like a cancer tumour, has begotten many other sub-cultures for every class of society: the old culture for conservative ‘low classes’ and superfluously refined ones for luxurious ‘high classes’; hence, caused the death, or ‘disintegration’, of civilization in time. Now then, I will try to explain what was the other face or genetic defect, of civilization.
Let me remind first, that even a gathering culture, with a great many other hunting cultures, is going on to live in this world, since the dawn of history of humanity; for those are natural and healthy cultures without any defect. On the other hand, the idea as the ‘unavoidable death of civilizations’, is generally and truly accepted by historians. It should be so, because civilizations have a deadly defect in their genes; I say it, already is in their genes because of the very idea of being a civilization, by definition; it is what makes a civilization different from a culture. Civilization comes into existence on condition that there must be class division; and therefore, social injustice. This superfluous second-rate culture, evolving from a natural culture (in which its individual members, those ‘deviant: therefore-creative’ personalities, must be in a neurotically ‘searching something’ condition a little while ago), begins as an intervention to nature’s job for its own ends; and creates an external second-nature for its members to accept and live in a split-to-classes society. While mankind lived in the world as a normal and true member of nature- human societies had only had cultures. Civilizations have begun when, and only when, a society had made it possible to change the balance of nature with the use of domesticating animals or agriculture; therefore, making the way for class – division.
Jericho, the first city as far as known, was immediately established after the revolution of agriculture (ca. 8350-7350 B.C.) with 40 km2 city wall. Arnold J. Toynbee says that, “interpreted literally, the word ‘civilization’ ought to mean an attempt to attain a kind of culture found in the cities.”19 It is true that it begins with Jericho, but this meaning of civilization is not so important for me, nor I have the space to discuss all the definitions which arbitrarily attributed to the term by scholars. As for me, what is the important aspect of civilization, is the ability to change the balance of nature for its own ends. This is my description that a culture becomes a civilization when it gains this ability. Cultures, also, profit by the nature, but to change the ‘balance of nature’ is impossible for a natural member of it. Today, five billion men live in this world (far too much ındeed, considering the natural balance, for this little creeping beasts); and it is due to the change of balance of nature- by the cherish of agriculture and domesticating animals- that men conquered the world, annihilating forests and every other creature which they came face to face. But the nature’s answer to this intervention is: “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay!”
Toynbee did not accept the etymologic, ‘urban-culture’, meaning of civilization; and he said that, there were ‘nomadic civilizations’ as well, without cities; and at least one agriculturist society – Mayan Civilization – had no city either. He proposes that, “perhaps it might be defined as an endeavour to create a state of society in which whole of the mankind will be able to live together in harmony, as members of a single all-inclusive family” 20; This is a proper ‘desideratum’, but not a fact! I leave the matter to those academicians to discuss it without any insight. My own definition, that is, ‘the ability to change the balance of nature for utility’, is compact, but large enough to include every other definition. For instance, Toynbee accepts the nomadic culture as civilization, but can not explain the reason convincingly. Agriculturist tamed cereals and nomad domesticated animals. Before then, they had been dominated by the balance of nature; they ate what they found, that is, what the balance of nature has provided for them: if their numbers increase far too much, the food would not be enough and they would begin to die; and their numbers would decrease to a proper size: And then, when they comprehended and dominated one feature of nature – so that, natural balance could not keep their over – population anymore, because they could produce their food – they have become the Lords of the whole world. That is, nomads and agriculturists won the same victory over nature. Hence, the ‘city – life’ could begin to emerge under the auspices of agriculture. Yet, because of this very reason, man has alienated himself from external nature by his ability to change and dominate it according to his own ideas; and also, from his own nature of ‘being a natural creature and living a free life’ – to become a slave of civilization and give up from his freedom. From that day until to this day, ‘alienation’ has continued to increase in every phase of a development of civilizations…
“When we look at ‘the metamorphosis of a pre-civilizational culture into a civilization, there we see the discovery of new techniques, the introduction of the division of labour, the emergence of economic inequality, the division of society into classes, the opposition between this new phenomena and the structure of primitive tribe, and the emergence of state as a means of transcending this opposition.” There would be some classes who live without their own labour, that is, “free from the task of producing food and other economic activities – e.g. industry and trade- consequently, they have to exploit the production of labouring classes. These non economic specialists- professional soldiers, administrators, and perhaps, above all, priests – have certainly been city dwellers in the cases of most of the civilizations known to us. But the Maya priesthood, with its advanced astronomical knowledge and its complicated calendarical technique, may have been an instance of a body of non–economic specialists in a non-urban social milieu. On this view, civilization would have originated in the emergence, not of the cities, but of economic inequality and the division of society into classes,” Said Toynbee. (21) It should be noted that all of these facts are definitions of various forms of ‘alienation’.
“If this is the correct diagnosis,” according to Toynbee, “it is a tragic one; for it means that civilization will have originated in social injustice, and that, as far as we know, it could not have come into existence in any other way. Social injustice has been one of the two specific diseases of civilization since the earliest date to which our surviving records of it go back. Its other disease has been war.” 22 To be sure, sir, it is the correct diagnosis, and Toynbee’s description of civilization is very well, but needs a little elaboration. His focus of interest is civilization, and he sees, that, its basis is social injustice, economic inequality, and the division of society into classes under the shelter of state; to those facts I will add that without some sur-plus food, it was impossible to come into existence for those evil facts of civilization: That means, when a culture acquired the ‘ability to change the balance of nature for utility’, when people was able to dominate and use the processes of nature for their food, they could also acquire to have a sur-plus food which, in turn, enabled them to make possible the involvement of a civilization. How could else, the ‘non-economic’ classes of society would have been able to live if people did not provide their food by giving them theirs sur-plus?
Thus, when we turn to our perspective, and having seen that civilizations emerge evolving from cultures, and cause some forms of alienation; we should also note that this ever-increasing progress of alienation and civilization go together and seems as it should be necessarily so. Since one can not be ignorant of a fact after having been learned it. From now on, I will speak in terms of alienation.
In terms of alienation, the first matter which I have to mention is that alienation begins with humanity, even before humanity, it begins with creation; and yet more than that; it means creation. It is the basic idea of Hegel’s philosophy that whatever is, is the absolute idea (God) and that absolute idea is neither a set of fixed things nor a sum of static properties, but a dynamic Self, engaged in a circular process of alienation and de-alienation. Nature is only a self – alienated (self-estranged) form of absolute Mind. As it is seen, the concept of alienation as used here, is a large Cosmogony. From the “Tao” of Lao Tse to this day, this concept of alienation was basic to every mystical philosophy, even though the term is coined by Hegel. The concept of alienation was, also, elaborated philosophically first by Hegel, but there were many proceeding forerunners to him. Yet it was only in Marxian thought that the concept has taken its importance After Hegel, the concepts of ‘alienation’ and ‘de-alienation’ were elaborated by Feuerbach and Marx; and I believe it was the most important aspect of Marxian thought which was overlooked, not only by his followers, but by Marx himself too. In his historical thought, the class struggle played the role of essential conception rather than alienation. “Marx wrote about alienation in his early writings, especially in his ‘Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts’, written in 1844 and first published in 1932. In his later writings, the concepts of alienation and de-alienation were used implicitly; and therefore, their importance is overlooked.” 23
I am, up to this point, interested with alienation of man from his society due to the economic inequality and class division of civilization. There are various kinds of alienation: ‘alienation of men from nature, from their fellow men, from the works of their hands and minds, and from themselves. All of them in the last analysis could be comprehended as the different aspects of a self – alienation processes (through labour and creation). In what sense it is possible for a self (either an individual or a society) to be alienated from itself? To be alienated from itself means to be internally divided; split into at least two parts that have become alien to each other. That’s what happens when a civilization evolves from a culture: to repeat my first indication with the same terms, when it becomes a ‘superfluous over-culture’; a culture, begotten by a natural culture, but with a ‘genetic degeneration’; and when this ‘second-rate culture’ creates an ‘external second-nature’ for its members to accept the limitation of their freedom. That is, what we call civilization is a self-alienated society; alienated first from its native-culture and nature; and then, split into classes with economic inequality: whence, came social injustice.
According to this perspective, civilization has created the social alienation of men from nature; and this situation, in turn, created the alienation of labour and division of society which means a self-alienated society. Whence comes the self – alienation of man, his psychological alienation which means an identity crisis through loss of the feeling ol belonging to a community: alienated from his society, yet remains the struggle between his feeling of to be alien to his own society and his moral obligation toward it.
Marx said that, “man alienates products of his spiritual activity in the form of philosophy, common sense, art, morals, and so on; he alienates products of his economic activity in the form of commodities, money, capital, etc; he alienates his social activity in the form of state, law, and social institutions: Through alienation of man from products of his own activity, a ‘separate, independent (of his will and judgement also), and powerful world of objects, come into existence toward which he is related as a powerless and dependent slave.” 24 Ibni Haldun had, also, noted before him that the human – condition and human dignity of nomads are better than city – dwellers (Passim, Mukaddime, Ibni Haldun). I will illustrate the point by the use of an excerpt from Rousseau to whom I owe very much for my perspective.
Rousseau said: “So long as man remained content with their rustic huts, so long as they were satisfied with clothes made of the skins of animals and sewn them together with thorns and fish-bones, adorned themselves only with feathers and shells, and continued to paint their bodies different colours, to improve and beautify their bows and arrows, and to make with sharp – edged stones fishing boats or clumsy musical instruments; in a word, so long as they undertook only what a single person could accomplish, confined themselves to such arts as did not require the joint labour of several hands, they lived free, healthy, honest, and happy lives, so long as their nature allowed, and as they continued to enjoy the pleasures of mutual and independent intercourse. But from the moment one man began to stand in need of the help of another; from the moment it appeared advantageous to any one man to have enough provisions for two, equality disappeared, property was introduced, work became indispensable, and vast forests became smiling fields, which man had to water with the sweath of his brow, and where slavery and misery were soon seen to germinate and grow up with the crops.” 25 Never before civilization, the rate of alienation could be so high in primitive cultures, save for some extra – ordinary situations as it is the case with Dobuans and Iks. There was, of course, the creation (alienation) of men yet, as customs and other cultural products, but the ratio of alienation was nothing at all in comparison with that of civilization.
“Homo sum, humanum nihil est a me alienum puto”
“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.”
Social Contracte: J. J. Rousseau
Alienation and Tradition:
We have spoken enough for the roots of alienation which is the most dreadful evil as the cause of civilization and all civilized evils. What can be said about the advantageous aspects of civilization, arts, morals and sciences? I will not take the trouble to speak a lot about them, but only quote from Rousseau again: “Necessity raised up thrones; the arts and sciences made them strong… So long as government and law provide for the security and well – being of men in their common life, the arts, literature, and the sciences, less despotic though perhaps more powerful, fling garlands of flowers over the chains which weigh them down… If the cultivation of the sciences is prejudicial to military qualities, it is still more so to moral qualities. Even from our infancy an absurd system of education serves to adorn our wit and corrupt our judgement. We see on every side, huge institutions, where our youth are educated at great expense, and instructed in everything except their duty. Your children will be ignorant of their own language, when they can talk others which are not spoken anywhere. They will be able to compose verses which they can hardly understand; and, without being capable of distinguishing truth from error, they will possess the art of making them unrecognizable by specious arguments. But magnanimity, equity, temperance, humanity, and courage will be words of which they know not the meaning.” 26 We need a better understanding for arts and sciences than our present-time understanding which is only a ‘conventional’ wisdom (!), so characteristic of civilized traditions.
Philosophy of history should report the interactions of society and man in their complexity rather than simplifying them as a science necessarily does. For this very reason, it must give us not only a panoramic view, but also, microscopic details of the interactions between tradition and family life, and their effects on the particular personality types using what has been provided by other social sciences. What I am trying to show here is the historical panorama which must provide the basis as a general framework for microscopic details. Both of the views must be used in turn. While we come nearer to microscopic details, we will see many diversities, there are many of them, on the other hand, every branch of social sciences has its own perspective for explaining those details. But there remains the gap which should be bridged, and those insights would be integrated; and I think, a historical perspective is a sufficient basis for it. Up to this point, I was trying to draw that historical panorama, but now, it is time to draw nearer to the details of the interactions of society, family, and individual: it means the relationships of tradition, child-upbringing, and personality.
Psychologists tend to emphasise character traits of personality in some broad-handed treatments, such as ‘amoral’, ‘conformist’, ‘collectivist’, ‘conscientious – rule – seeking’, and ‘autonomous’ characters. (e. g. Psychology of Moral Behaviour, D. Wright) These are certainly broad generalizations, but there is a limit to every view anyway. Even though every classification has some limitations, we can see some relationships between the tradition of society and character traits which ‘built – in – personality’ through upbringing of children, at first in family-life, then by the use of education. Naturally, there are differences of constitutions varying from person to person which had been analyzed by such famous writers as E. Kretschmer, W. H. Sheldon, C. G. Yung and so on. In Islamic literature also, there was a classification after the fashion of Galen: phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine, and melancholic characters. We should not be bothered here, with all of those differences of constitutions which affect character, of those introvert, extrovert, asthenic, picnic, schizoid etc., typologies since they are genetical factors. Psychoanalysis, also, offers some insights starting from the conditions of family life in early childhood. In short, every social scientist says something about it. What seems to me important, is this: conditions and traditions of any given society is formed by historical processes; and it is those conditions that determine the type of upbringing of children – according to a tradition – in their early family life and through education. To be sure, there remains the genetic difference, varying from person to person, but even then, the fate of personality is sealed by cultural conditions.
I would like to illustrate the point that a ‘deviant’ personality type could be easily tolerated in primitive cultures- e. g. he could become a shaman, and in such a case, find a protected ‘niche’ in the community if he has some psychological problems. Anthropologists could give us many other examples of this kind of tolerance. I will turn to this point of ‘tolerance to deviant characters’ later.
For the present, I will make a reiteration on the problem of alienation from the viewpoint of personality. Character traits, as built-in- personality of individuals, is the ‘second-nature’ imposed on them by the tradition of society. A civilized man is a tamed-man, like a domesticated animal, ha is forced to cease from using his freedom for the benefits and conformity of society; and he has become such a wretched and weak creature, that without the advantages of ‘reification’ provided by civilization, he could no more depend on his own abilities ‘to live alone without help’. ‘Reification’ – that is, the act of human properties, relations, and actions into properties and actions of things which are independent of man and govern his life- is indispensable for a civilized life. To be sure, such a degree of limiting freedom, has the weight and power to act on the spirit of individual; and to affect his personality.
In Russia and China today, ‘collectivist character’ traits are tried to be imposed on the personality of individuals through education. In those countries, families are not trusted to up-bring their children according to their own ideas. Thus, ‘conformity’ is the first and most approved virtue of personality in every society; otherwise, the ‘person in question’ will be alienated from his society. That is, every society is, by definition and by necessity, forced to be a traditional society. From the beginning of agriculture to the dawn of industrialism, every civilized society has been a traditional society- and man in chains. After the revolution of industrialism, so-called ‘non-traditional’ societies, namely Western Societies, emerged only because, the ‘cup of culture’ had been broken over there. From then on, in Western Societies, ‘autonomous’ character traits have been valued instead of authoritarian and conformist personality types. That is what an open-society (or non-traditional society), is, so called by K. R. Popper.
Riesmann prefers to speak in terms of ‘tradition-directed’, ‘inner – directed’, and ‘other – directed’ types of characters, and says: “In western history the society that emerged with the Renaissance and Reformation and that is only now vanishing serves to illustrate the type of society in which inner – direction is the principle mode of securing conformity. Such a society is characterized by increased personal mobility, by a rapid accumulation of capital (teamed with devastating technological shifts), and by an almost constant expansion: intensive expansion of goods and people, and extensive expansion in exploration, colonization, and imperialism. The greater choices this society gives- and the greater initiatives it demands in order to cope with its novel problems- are handled by character types who can manage to live socially without strict and self – evident tradition – ‘direction. These are the inner – directed types.” 27 Same facts in different terms!
I have said that every society must be traditional by definition, yet there are different traditions. Primitive cultures are also traditional with regard to alienation. I have to touch upon a problem here. Are they primitive because of their being custom – bounded? It may be so, as it is interpreted by many philosophers, but what is tradition? I am interested here, in a limited sense if possible, with tradition. Because I am speaking in terms of alienation and personality, I have regard for only one aspect of tradition; that is, ‘behaviour of personality as is governed by tradition’ to which the individual belongs. Hagen says: “A society is traditional if ways of behaviour in it continue to with little change from generation to generation. Where traditionalism is present, certain other characteristics are also found. Behaviour is governed by custom, not law. The social structure is hierarchical. The individuals position in society is normally inherited rather than achieved. And at least in the traditional state so far in the world’s history, economic productivity is low. A traditional society, in short, tends to be custom – bounded, hierarchical, ascriptive, and unproductive. If ways of behaviour tended to continue unchanged, the society should be termed traditional even if these other characteristics were not present.” 28
Primitive cultures leave a space for personal freedom to a certain degree because of their cultural conditions, yet they are traditional- and tradition itself is a form of alienation, in a different sense also, for it limited the man’s essential nature of freedom and creativity. But I have, already, said that in primitive cultures –gathering and hunting cultures, and if compared with industrialists, nomads and agriculturists – personal deviation from custom has been allowed to exist to a certain degree of freedom. Perhaps primitive cultures are much more custom bounded in comparison with a tradition of a developed civilization, and yet deviant personalities could have been tolerated in primitives. Now then, let me illustrate the point with a quotation from the same work again.
Hagen explains the point: “Traditional societies prevent some types of deviance from spreading by providing special niches for deviants. In probably every peasant society the individual who can not risk of testing his abilities in a role as father or in the power structure can assume a role as seer, medicine man, shaman, priest, village fool, or learned man, The learned man and the religious man are often one and same, and the learning sanctioned is in the traditional humanistic wisdom of the society, not in technological exploration. Thus such individuals serve the society and cause no strain on its structure.”
“The deviant with need autonomy, need achievement, and creative imagination offers a different problem. The social pressures may not rest so heavily on him as to deter him, and in spite of them he may explore the physical environment or, aware of information available from other societies, may avail himself of it. However, if he is produced by the random appearance of unusual circumstances within individual families, he is an isolated individual within a traditional community.”
History shows us many civilizations with the same fate: a creative minority leads to progressive achievement and to change in social structure; but as Kroeber has shown in his ‘Configurations of Culture Growth’, the typical pattern in history has been for processes of Culture Growth- that is civilization through alienation- to appear and to come to an end. I can not discuss the particular conditions of family life and education which produces creative (deviant) personalities, but I will only state that the experiences of early childhood and early life in family, plays a major role for the construction of personality type. In the family and later through education, the child is treated according to a tradition of child – upbringing which depends on the particular situation of society whether it be a primitive, agriculturist or an industrialist society.
What makes the difference between an authoritarian (or tradition – directed) and creative (autonomous or deviant) personality? A satisfying answer to this question demands many elaboration; differences of needs, values, cognition, etc, but I will only make use of an excerpt which seems sufficient for an illumination of my point of view.
“The individual with innovational personality views the phenomena of world, at least in an area which he values highly, as forming systems whose operation is orderly and amenable to logical analysis. He regards this as true of both phenomena whose system he already understands, and phenomena which at first observation run counter to any previously known system. He also views the world as valuing him, though this perception may be a qualified one only provided that he achieve effectively. His high need – succorance, and need to receive assurances of being valued, than drives him to achieve and is the source of that deep religious sense of duty to achieve that is so often present in innovational personality. He is also high in need autonomy, achievement, and order; and since he conceives of all phenomena, no matter how disorderly superficially, as capable of being understood, these needs cause him ever to be alert to new disorderly phenomena within his field of interest in order that he may have the pleasure of autonomously achieving discovery of the order that governs them. Moreover because he understands and hence has empathy with the needs of others, he is high in need nurturance. Perhaps it is because of this need nurturance that the scope of an innovational individual’s moral values is broad. He is apt to regard the welfare of individuals and groups over a wide area of his society and perhaps other societies as (almost) equal in importance to his own. The degree of his regard declines only slightly with respect to group farther and farther removed from him.
“The authoritarian individual, on the other hand, perceives the phenomena of world as forming a system whose operation is not orderly and not capable of analysis. Hence he is high in need dependence. He also perceives the world as not valuing him highly, and sees power as residing in position rather than resulting from accomplishment. Because of the rage and need to curb it which these perceptions generate in him, he is high in need submission – dominance and low in need succorance-nurturance. He is low in need autonomy and achievement and probably also in need order, though he may be conceived of as high in need order but driven to satisfy it by evading recognition of inconsistencies or discrepancies in his perception of phenomena. He regards the welfare of very few if any individuals as (almost) equal in importance to his own, and outside of that limited group the degree of his regard for the welfare of others declines rapidly.” 29
A Little Fable
“‘Alas,’ said the mouse, ‘the world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad at last when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.’ ‘You only need to change your direction,’ said the cat and ate it up.”
Individuality versus Society:
We have seen that traditional societies produce tradition – directed (authoritarian) personalities making its was through traditional upbringing of children. A creative personality is a deviant from normal standards of tradition; he does not resemble those (usually) authoritarian and non-creative majority; But in no way he can break off custom; he will find a protected niche in society; and being isolated so, he would be not so much use for society, but not harmful either. So far as is seen from my perspective, every primitive, agriculturist and nomadic society had been traditional, and such a situation was not so much useful for society either. There is conventialism and conformity, but not a conscientious morality in those traditions. Certainly, we could find many ‘amoral’ characters, so to speak, in metropolitan – life while a civilization has been disintegrating: Byzantine corruption, perversion, deterioration, debauchery, Janus-faced hypocrisy, and insincere dissimulation: decorum of civilization.
On the other hand, autonomous – creative characters should be isolated in traditional societies; those would-be reformists could not be numerous or successful- if not, the tradition would not be strong enough. These traits of characters appear, and by necessity in abundance and often, when the ‘cup’ of tradition is broken! Sorokin notes that theories of history have, always, appeared in hard times because of people’s worrying about the situation of society and their future (see Social philosophies of an Age of Crisis, P. Sorokin). Naturally it should be so; “these are the times that try men’s souls.”
A complicated culture comes into existence; it growths and becomes interest-focused in some values; tends to centre in some fields- and makes a tradition of it. But there are also impressive historical evidences that persistence of value patterns, as they being outmoded in time, has also been an important element ‘in termination of periods of cultural growth.’ These value-patterns (tradition) is built in personality of the member of traditional society, and that person is so brought up that he is, in turn, barred from looking at the social structure with a fresh view: He is brain – washed by his culture, so much so that, he is ‘deaf, and dumb, and blind’ to those facts which are alien to his own culture. Unusual and alien facts, or new situations, are out of his comprehension as being exterior of the general framework of his cognition which should be provided by his culture. But he hardly knew it. When a tradition had been lost, that cultural framework (the cup of culture) had also been broken; and he has been confused. He is forced to see the light, but his eyes are dazzling like Plato’s ‘caveman’ when he has been out of the ‘cave of tribe’. He can not look at the facts, nor can he conceive their real meaning for a time; he is forced to search after a new ‘truth and reality’ because of this cultural shock. Many generations will pass away in such a situation: confused perception- and there may be also, an ‘apperception’ of confusion!
History illuminates for us many periods of cultural shocks, in times of dissolution and disintegration of civilizations (or when the cup of tradition has been broken). We can see those tragic –and at the same time, blessed- periods over and over again in history. Every time, human creativity established a new tradition after a considerable time. But there was a great cultural shock, the emergence of industrialism in the modern era of Europe which we have special interest for its evolution, as it is seen from our broad perspective, as a new cultural pattern for a great historical period.
Catholicism had gone in some countries; and with Protestantism, many different sects of religion have come into existence. As it is a well known fact, Protestantism rejects the traditional authority of ‘Catholic’ (universal) church, and calls for an individualistic interpretation of Bible; so that, we should not be surprised when we find so many schismatic sects of Protestantism after a little while. If a person can depend on his own interpretation of Bible – without the authority of traditional Church – to be sure, it could be a different interpretation from every body else’s understanding of it (Or say, Koran for instance, as it is the same case in Islam what with the so called question of ‘ictihad’).
There were so many religious outlooks, and so many conflicting worldviews in Europe that they have to pay expensively for this very reason of having so many different worldview: Religious wars, class conflicts, and the death of traditional world of Europe. There was, at first, Grand Inquisitors for deviants of tradition, but then, there would be bloody (30) years war (as it is brilliantly shown by F. M. Dostoyevsky in his “The Brothers Karamazov”, those inquisitors could blame even Jesus Christ himself as a ‘heretic’ in the name of their dear tradition of Catholicism which is, also, pictured over there as ‘representing and speaking’ in the name of ‘state, socialism, and civilization’). To illustrate the point in a terse expression, I will quote from Hagen: “Thus no individual becomes a reformer of his community or society who does not feel both that the institutions of his community or society threaten him deeply and that they can be changed by his efforts.” 30. Whence we are coming face to face with a problem: the role of the individual in history…
I have already said that, in history, I believe there is not only causality with a ‘loose determinism’ (as it is stated in “The Role of the Individual in History”, by. G. Plekhanov) but a strict necessity, which can be called ‘fate of events’; for the occurrence of events depend on the conditions which in they occurred as it is comprehensively explained by Tolstoy. According to the concept of ‘determinism’, which is an intentional inference from experiences of daily – life, there is a cause to every effect (as it is understood in spatial sciences one-cause-to-one-effect); but in history, there are so many causes functioning together for ‘the occurrence of a particular event’ that they necessitate to happen that particular event; and make it inevitable. So we should not call it as ‘determinism’, but ‘necessity’ (fate). And this is why, E. Boutroux (and many other philosophers as well) thought that historical events are contingent: we see the so-called accidents and chance-events in history, and the choice of individual, or his relationship with the events whatsoever it might be: This is only because, there are so many causal chains and conditions for the occurrence of any particular event of history that it seems accidental, or can be interpreted as being contingent, since we have a special framework (constructed by our mentality) for that event; and we are not interested (or we do not notice) with the so-seemed ‘unrelated( events which only means they are exterior of that special framework. So the ‘event’ will appear as conditional or contingent because of the special role of individual acts; or else (whatever it be though), in an appearance of chance events: and that, only, means they are unrelated with that framework (which is often a fictional one as being constructed by historians themselves), or what we consider at the given time as our present-time perspective.
On the other hand, most of the times, we are simply unaware or ignorant of those factors – because they are out of our special framework – as so called chance/ unrelated events: And indeed, there are so many of them that they are interminable due to the nature of insufficiency of our knowledge about historical events (as we simply have ‘only a mere nothing’ records of events in comparison with the real processes of history). Individual, in history, has not any kind of freedom (if freedom, free will or choice means an unrestricted, independent act without any interference and condition); he acts on condition that his inner-conditionals (his culture as built in his personality) and external conditions of his time and place (situation of his society), permit him to act. He has a choice (if possible to call it as ‘choice’, or ‘will’ then), but a choice far too much conditioned by internal and external factors; though he may be unaware of them, and in his consciousness, imagines himself as acting in accordance with his own will (and it must be so for every living-thing). I think, I have provided a perspective here, in which it can be seen clearly, that there is not any chance-event in history, nor contingency, but an inevitable fate (but not determinism, as it means “with the same cause you can produce the same result”). However, the idea of fate is only strengthened by the so-called ‘chance-events’; how many more we conceive of them, we realize that we do not understand them, and being so, we conceive of ‘fate’ as an unknown necessity. It is due to the nature of our mind that we want to conceive a ‘one cause to one effect determinism’ to make the phenomena understandable. There is no such determinism in fact. Even in spatial sciences, but is does not make much harm so simplifying the real facts as long as you stay in the scope of spatial sciences. In history, there are numerous, in fact endless, causes for every particular event; so that, it is necessitated by them. What we call accident, chance – event, or individual’s free will, is simply coming from our ignorance of the endless details of history (see Epilogue of War and Peace, L. Tolstoy). Historical thought is the thought-in-time, and because of its nature, we will, always, be forced to conceive it us ‘fate’ whether we like or do not like it.
Consequently, neither Reformation (remember religious perversions of Christianity and the long struggle of Europeans related with that religion), nor any other development, was the only one cause of fervent creativity of the so-called ‘non-traditional’ Western Culture. I have mentioned the religious disintegration of ‘Holy Roman Empire’ (or rather having different traditions and worldviews in a culture, divided internally and externally), only to show a major break loose from the traditional worldview of ‘Middle Ages’. Not only some minorities, but the whole Europe had been restless and full of new ideas then.
So comes out alienation from another alienation, at first simply a splitting up to two parts, then such a complicated result of unlimited and interminable causation chains. Alienated creation is similar to ‘emanation’ theory of Plotinus as ‘coming from oneness to multiplicity’, or rather it is alike to ‘Logos’ of Philon which is the principle of creation: it begets many others through splitting up to divisions. Though ‘Persona’, as a raindrop, has its own weight as a cause of the endless flux of unfathomed sea of history, it is only one drop of water to accumulate the sea, but the sea, in turn, produces many of them as vaporisation.
Is it necessary at all, to repeat the so-called progressive developments which happened in the era of industrialism? What we should note, however, is that that age of industrialism was different in every aspect from all previous traditional ages and societies. First of all there was the diversity (those divisions and sub-divisions) of religious outlooks which provided different perspectives; and in due to the proceeding time, they have acquired to live side by side within the same society (if possible to call any society which is only an aggregation of individuals, as a ‘society’ then): hence, saved the individual from being narrow-minded and custom-bounded. This was the age of reason and individual. And in spite of logic, there might be an ‘another logical truth’, for every individual’s reasoning. So many men, so many minds.
To use the Toynbee’s simile, history may resemble ‘a kaleidoscopic panorama in which the colours and patterns change’ when you change your focus of interest in your perspective. You may call those societies as ‘open – societies’ (as K. R. Ropper did), or ‘non–traditional societies, because there is the so-called ‘democracy’, as a conformism and in accordance with economical and technical aspects of industrialist-tradition, within this period. And you may also note that those ideas of liberty, justice, equality, secularism etc, are all peculiar to this era (also being peculiar to the ‘merchant-worldview’, as bourgeois gained the ground after a long struggle with dominant powers of aristocracy and church).
On the other hand, it is true that the qualities of creativity, individuality, and originality versus ‘mimesis’, traditionalism (conservatism), and conformity, have been valued and rewarded in this cultural pattern of industrialism. And it is also true that Europeans have acquired many scientific and technological skills in this period of history; consequently, they were better armed than other traditional societies of the world, so much so that, the world is forced to accept this phase of ‘European Culture’ as the most advanced and ideal civilization under the shade of European arms. But approximately from the Atomic Bomb to this day, a new era have begun in America and Japan which we call post-industrialism.
This new period of history is called ‘post-industrialism’ after the fashion of ‘industrialism’, because we do not know yet, to which what name must be attributed as the most significant feature. It is so new, yet it seems a major change has been happened in the arc of time; so that, post-industrialist societies are, now, searching for a new integration of values. Industrialism has lost its attraction and become outmoded because of a superior technology and conditions of a new cultural pattern: today, we question all of the ideals of industrialist culture.
Is progress real? What about the irreparable damage done to the natural balance of the world which may soon become uninhabitable? (we already have a super-technology whose principles seems different from the technologies of industrialist era, from the ‘mechanization of the world’; and we should pay more attention to our technological means; and industrialist technology should be changed to a superior technology as harmless as possible to nature and society). And what about freedom? Freedom from what? What is equality? Is justice possible without ethical considerations? If you say, a secular ethic is possible, and our justice, already, depends on this ethic, let me ask some more questions about that justice.
The justice depends on this secular ethic, and the laws of this justice is made through a government which is chosen by the will of majority (we speak about democracies, because it is the ideal form of government of the industrialist era: we will assume that the government will make those rules in accordance with the will of majority and work for the welfare of people; even though we have learned from history that at best, it acts at random if not for the interests of upper classes, for this is the case in most of the times). What could demand a secular ethic from us? It can only demand that the society (that is, it is a new from of alienation, a tradition of parliamentarism which, of course, is forced to limit individual freedom). But what is evil? Is the will of majority right and good always? If the law protect the conform and interests of majority versus individual (or minority), who will protect the individual from the tyrannical will and judgement of majority of the society which can inflict the most cruel punishments to the individual? As Oscar Wilde said; “but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” The truth is that, there is not, and can not be, any secular ethic; and without ethical considerations, there is not, and can not be, any justice. Our justice based on sharing interests; as Jeremy Bentham put it, “the greatest happiness of the greatest number,” who would enjoy the utilities of security, equality, subsistence, and abundance- what happens in fact, is the vice-versa!
How can we share interests anyway? How then, equally? No, it is not possible either. I do not know any democracy (capitalist or socialist), nor any civilization in all history, in which an equal sharing of interests and rights could become possible or applicable. As it is clearly seen from my perspective, it could not be possible with the ratio of alienation of a civilized ‘status quo’.
Unsatisfied with democracy, A. J. Toynbee finds many serious flaws –e. g. insincerity – in this regime and prefers Meritocracy. 31 Alvin Toffler speaks of ‘ad hoc-racy’. Thoreau stated the question as: “the progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man?” 32
We have to remember Parkinson’s Law too. Is the satire unjust, that “The British, being brought up on team games, enter their House of Commons in the spirit of those who would rather be doing something else. If they cannot be playing golf or tennis, can at least pretend that politics is a game with very similar rules. But for this device, Parliament would arouse even less interest than it does. So the British instinct is to form two opposing teams, with referee and linesmen, and let them debate until they exhaust themselves. The House of Commons is so arranged that the individual Member is practically compelled to take one side or the other before he knows what the arguments are, or even (in some cases) before he knows the subject of the dispute. His training from birth has been to play for his side, and this saves him from any undue mental effort. Sliding into a seat toward the end of a speech, he knows exactly how to take up the argument from the point it has reached. If the speaker is on his own side of the House, he will say “Hear, hear!” If he is on the opposite side, he can safely say “Shame!” or merely “Oh!” At some later stage he may have time to ask his neighbour what the debate is supposed to be about. Strictly speaking, however, there is no need for him to do this.” 33
And only dictatorship can solve the Gordion-knot of a democracy! Are we destined not to solve the riddle of government? These questions are often asked now, for we have come to a very different phase of history. Those bourgeois ideas were idols of industrialist tradition. They were paradigms of industrialism which have been outmoded – like industrialist cultural pattern itself – in this post-industrial period of history.
“The Tao does nothing and yet there is nothing left undone.”
“Worlds on worlds are rolling ever from creation to decay
Like the bubbles on a river sparkling, bursting, borne away.”
“Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf is a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay”
Philosophy of history is the broadest subject of contemplation; consequently, I could not illuminate all of the aspects of it in this article. This is why I have chosen to illustrate only most important and basic aspect of the subject: the ever-increasing alienation process, as it is seen from a large perspective of cultural patterns. As a conclusion I want to speak on the question of de-alienation. As I have indicated, Mankind began to search for it in this latest period of history. And as it is a well-known fact, Marxian utopia of ‘de-alienation’ was a cummunistical society in which, through the use of communistical proprietorship, alienation would be overcome. But it should be noted that as long as there is proprietorship, there is the unavoidable evil of alienation: State property or individual proprietorship, it does not make any difference for the alienated labour. In every civilized state of society, class division is also inevitable: it is so by definition of alienation and civilization. In primitive cultures, almost everybody earns everything which is needed: as a result, there is no alienation of labour (but there are some other forms of alienation). In a complicated culture, as a civilization is, we could find every kind of alienation in their most dreadful forms.
As Leo Tolstoy had truely argued once, the alienation of labour is an evil from the viewpoint of ethical considerations also. As long as there is the alienation of labour, there will never be equality and justice. One need only remember Henry George’s single-tax system of economy as a reasonable and practical solution of land-property problem; at least it is a more acceptable system: We are not forced to be either capitalist or communist. 34 Kerensky Government was too late to make the ‘single – tax system’ constitutional – perhaps through the influence of Tolstoy – and communist revolution(state property) have only worsened the position of muzjiks. As Tolstoy advised (and applied himself), there can be only one way for de-alienation of labour: everybody should be capable of every deed which is needed, as it is the case in primitive cultures. Every person must live as ‘independent of the labours of other men’ and must work to make his own ‘objects and needs’ whatever they may be. So that, through self-articulation at least, one may be contented with those ‘as simple and modest as possible’ needs, without in need of the productions of alienated-and-bought labours of other men.
To be sure, sir, it means the death of civilization, but why should we make an idol of civilization, after having seen its dreadful face from this perspective? According to K. Boulding, we are now living in a transitory phase of post-industrialism which leads, us to a period of “Post-civilization”; and that does not necessarily mean bad human conditions or primitive technologies. 35 I will prefer to say that history leads us to search for a new meaning and integration of values; after the failing of so many traditions and the so-called ‘non-traditional-democratic-industrialist’ tradition, we have, just in the second part of 20th-century, begun to search for a better understanding-level of ‘human conditions’. We are trying to realize a ‘de-alienation’ process. I think, it seems already possible thanks to the present-capacity of our knowledge and technological skills, on condition that, Mankind would not commit to a suicide before then altogether. Unfortunately, industrialism has made it possible to change the ecological balance of the world, so much so that, it may soon become an empty planet – uninhabitable! And there is the possibility of a nuclear suicide in any time because of the struggle between those traditional and the so-called ‘non-traditional and democratic’ and communist societies. According to their present worldview, what is important, ‘de facto’, is only their present-time interests; hence, they are ‘deaf, and dumb, and blind’ for the fate and future of mankind – ‘so they shall not return…’ “By the time! Surely man is in the way of loss…” (36).
(1) They are deaf, and dumb, and blind; so they shall not return.
(2) The mystery of eternity is known neither by you nor me This mysterious letter could have been read neither by you nor me ‘Being’ lies behind a curtain, we are making tittle-tattle, you and me When the curtain is raised, neither you remain nor me.
(3) ‘Historia est magistrae vitae’.
(4) ‘Allahümme euzü bime min ilmin la yenfau’.
(5) Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, New York, 1968, p. 11
(6) P. Gardiner, Theories of History, New York, 1959, p. 188
(7) Ibid, p. 189
(8) Ibid, p. 189
(9) A. J. Toynbee, A Study of History, Reconsiderations, v. WII, New York, 1961, p. 272
(10) The attack on historicism, in “The Poverty of Historicism’, by K. R. Popper, is about an imagined-concept of ‘historicism’; and his criticism of the subject is so stated that it can be applicable to every kind of knowledge.
(11) M. Mandelbaum, “Historicism”, The Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, ed. By P. Edwards, New York, 1967
(12) J. L. Lowes, “Imagination Creatrix”, Reader and Writer, ed. By H. P. Vincent and H. Hayford, Boston, 1954, p. 371
(13) J. Dewey, “Language and the Training of Thought”, Reader and Writer, p. 297
(14) “Culture”, Harper’s Dictionary of Modern Thought, ed. By. A. Bullock and O. Stallybrass, New York, 1977
(15) A. J. Toynbee, Reconsiderations, p. 272
(16) K. Mac Leish, “Stone Age Cavemen of Mindanao Forest”, National Geographic Magazine. 1972
(17) C. M. Turnbull, The Mountain People, New York, 1972, p. 128
(18) R. Benedict, Patterns of Culture, Boston, 1959, p. 21
(19) A. J. Toynbee, Reconsiderations, p. 276
(20) Ibid., p. 279
(21) Ibid., p. 275
(22) Ibid., p. 278
(23) G. Petroviç, “Alienation”, The Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, ed. By P. Edwards
(25) J. J. Rousseau, “A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”, The Social Contract and Discourses, New York, 1968, p. 199
(26) J. J. Rousseau, “A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences”, The Social Contract and Discourses. P. 136
(27) D. Riesmann, The Lonely Crowd, Yale Univ. Press, 1961, p. 14
(28) E. E. Hagen, On the Theory of Social Change, Mass. Institute of Technology, 1932, p. 55
(29) Ibid., p. 119
(30) Ibid., p. 156
(31) A. J. Toynbee and D. Ikeda, Toynbee-Ikeda Dialogue, Tokyo, 1976, p. 220
(32) H. D. Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”, Walden and Civil Disobedience. Signet Classics, n. P., 1960, p. 240
(33) C. N. Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law, Boston, 1957, p. 14
(34) Passim., H. George, Progress and Poverty, San Francisco, 1879
(35) Passim., K. Boulding, The Meaning of the 20.th Century: The Great Transition, New York, 1965
(36) Koran. C. III, 1 – 2