The Modern World View
vs The Traditional World View
A Brief Introduction
There are two fundamental ways of looking at the world. The modern world view and the traditional world view. There are only two fundamental ways, because all ways are variants on one of these two. The first - the traditional world view - is the way that humans have looked at the world since the beginning - it is certainly the way that all known human societies have looked at the world: native Americans, Australian aboriginals, the Chinese Empire, the Indian empire (not the later British Raj), the Persian Empire, the ancient Egyptians, the Incas, the Aztecs, the Inuit, the Moslem civilization, Christendom (before the so-called "Enlightenment") and all other known human societies. The second way - the modern world view - is the way people in Europe began looking at the world after the seventeenth-century "Enlightenment". This movement actually began in Periclean Athens and gained momentum throughout the "Classical" civilization. But it did not develop into a truly modern world view - that is, to the point where people were no longer thinking in the way that all humans have thought through almost all their history. With the fall of Rome, that "Classical" outlook largely died and was not resurrected until the Renaissance - which means "rebirth" and refers precisely to the rebirth of the Classical civilization. It was at this point that the modern world view began to take shape. But even during the Renaissance people still largely held to the traditional world view. The real modern world view did not begin until the so-called "Enlightenment" of the mid 17th century. What is the traditional world view?
This is a large subject, but to summarize a little of it, one salient characteristic that all the diverse traditional civilizations have in common is that they saw the universe as an intelligent and intelligible whole. They would not say, for example as a typical product of the modern world...
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