Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Betrand Russell

From A History of Western Philosophy:
"To us, it seems that West-European civilization is civilization, but this is a narrow view. Most of the cultural content of our civilization comes to us from the Eastern Mediterranean, from Greeks and Jews. As for power; Western Europe was dominant from the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome - say, roughly, during the six centuries from 200 B.C. to 400 A.D. After that time (until the Renaissance), no state in Western Europe could compare in power with China, Japan, or the Caliphate."


"There is an imperialism of culture which is harder to overcome than the imperialism of power. Long after the Western Empire fell - indeed until the Reformation - all European culture retained a tincture of Roman imperialism. It now has, for us, a West-European imperialistic flavor. I think if we are to feel at home in the world after the present war, we shall have to admit Asia to equality in our thoughts, not only politically, but culturally. What changes this will bring about, I do not know, but I am convinced they will be profound and of the greatest importance."

From the last pages of Chapter VII.