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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Although he sees much that is threatening, Clark seems to still be positive about this, our era. Almost fifty years later, it is hard to share some of his positive ideas, whereas some of the negatives aren’t as heavy on our mind as they were before the end of the Cold War. But Clark’s idea, that “it is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation,” is stronger than ever.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • If Christianity is dead, and the Romantic Movement killed it, what, if anything, has replaced it as the prime civilising force in Europe? What has civilisation gained or lost in the process? Clark touches on this question in passing, when he criticises the 19th-century bourgeoisie, but then asks what the mocking Romantics could put in place of middle-class morality when “they themselves were still in search of a soul.” This is the hole left in Clark’s narrative, the hole in the French Revolution that it sought, in vain, to fill with a religion that never took root.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark, rather cleverly, sums up Rousseau’s philosophy in the sentence “I feel therefore I am,” calling it a “curious discovery to have been made in the middle of the Age of Reason.” He connects it to David Hume’s work, before noting how Rousseau’s beliefs were extended from nature to man. Rousseau believed that natural man was virtuous, a belief that soon came to be widely accepted. Clark mentions and quotes three detractors of the idea, but it is fair to say that the belief that nature is somehow virtuous, while man is not, is still popular.
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  • By: Eva Vlaardingerbroek
  • This was one of the first times I hit my head hard against the wall of political correctness that is present in our institutions, universities and our media. Certain opinions, but also entire topics, seem to be off-limits. Any form of criticism directed at immigration, the multicultural society, third/fourth wave feminism, and the European Union, is dangerous territory. With the risk of, at the very least, receiving the usual tiring labels: racist, fascist, nazi, xenophobe etc, the debate is silenced. With this political cramp, it is no surprise to me that a growing number of people are sick of it, and are starting to push back.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark mentions a “sudden consciousness of feminine qualities,” of which he says

    “I think it absolutely essential to civilisation that the male and female principle be kept in balance. In eighteenth-century France, the influence of women was, on the whole, benevolent; and they were the creators of that curious institution of the eighteenth century, the salon.”

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  • By: Robert Ossenblok
  • According to Norse mythology, the wickedness and evil in the world is created by Loki and his offspring. Who are his children? Well, there is Hel, Goddess of the underworld. Yes, the term ‘hell’ is indeed a pagan term absorbed into Christianity. Then there’s Fenrir, a massive wolf that will fight and kill Odin. And the great serpent Jǫrmungandr that is wrapped around the world – it would appear the Vikings knew very well the world was a globe. There is also Sleipnir, a mythical eight-legged horse that Odin rode on. This horse is perhaps Loki’s only child that is not some sort of representation of evil.
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  • By: Richard Cunningham
  • Cicero, his Roman contemporary Cato the Younger, and his Roman philosophical successors, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, went some way to developing Latin Stoicism, which stood some distance from its Greek predecessor, tempered as it was with Roman values and martial culture, which in an imperial, militaristic power such as Rome, was quite different to that of the intellectual, comfortable lives of many Athenian Greek philosophers.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The logic of state authoritarianism imposed on all aspects, including and above all the arts, a “certain inhumanity.”

    “It was the work not of craftsmen, but of wonderfully gifted civil servants. As long as it reflects this grand comprehensive system, it is done with superb conviction. (…) [However,] French Classicism was eminently not exportable.”

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  • By: Levi Varga
  • In my honest opinion, Hungary is not ready for capitalism and civil society. Every attempt beforehand to establish these was more or less amateurish and resulting in more of a feudal outcome where we copied a Western nation without harmonizing any differences between the two states. Those who voted for Orbán did not vote because of hate and fear, although the campaign to demonize immigrants worked like a charm, they voted for FIDESZ because they wanted to receive a familiar sense of safety that they did not get from Gyurcsány or the previous cabinets since 1989.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark explains that he is in Holland because he thinks the Dutch Republic is the first country to profit from a civilisational shift: “the revolution that replaced Divine Authority by experience, experiment and observation.” His characterisation of this revolution as the changing of the question ‘is it God’s will?’ into ‘does it work?’ or even ‘does it pay?’, is at least easy to remember.
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  • By: Solomonica de Winter
  • Donatello chose to portray a boy, the young body of someone not destined for war and who would not survive one. But, and this was the message; through the power of god even a small boy like David could win a battle. What he lacked in physical strength he made up for with his unquestioned religious faith. A strange kind of magical delirium which turns a boy into a godly warrior.
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