Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Return of Quetzalcoatl - Chapter 16

All chapters of this book have been moved: here.


AMDG said...

> Also, deMause assumes a gradual improvement in child treatment from 460 AD to approximately 1100 AD: an impossibility if we consider that about the 8th century Europe was in its darkest ages.

But if the psychogenic theory of history is true, the brutal modes of childrearing in the Middle Ages had to be necessarily worse, given that the medieval mind lost again autonomous consciousness for more than a millennium.

* * * * *

I think you are subject to the “Enlightenment delusion”. The Middle Ages was a period of accelerated material progress. Of course, it was not the same the 8th C as the 12th,

Chechar said...

It took Gibbon six volumes to describe the decline of Rome, in part due to the new religions that overwhelmed the empire, and I cannot embark on that. Later I'll respond to what you said in another thread about an Octavio Paz statement last month. Sorry for the long delay.

You know, both the late Paz and I were/are secular humanists. Since we fight for Western civilization some people like Oriana Fallaci would use the term “Catholic atheists”. But that still doesn’t describe me. The universe is, to my mind, quite a mystery (I am opened to a Hegelian view on God but I really hate metaphysics and prefer to be considered simply an “agnostic”).

Anyway. I would like to respond by pointing out to one of the sources mentioned in this entry: Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation.

I trust you have watched it.

After Civilisation was aired in 1969, Clark got warm congratulations from three Cardinals and other Christian conservatives. I mention this just to point out that his series is everything but a critique of Christendom. On the contrary: Clark is very fond of the Catholicism in previous centuries.

Nonetheless, in his first chapter of Civilisation, Clark states that the subject of Greco-Roman art was man. But, writing about the Early Middle Ages, he adds: “Two hundred years have passed – perhaps a little more – and man has almost vanished”. He of course is talking of “men of the Dark Ages”. A few pages later he adds:

For over five hundred years this achievement was rare in Western Europe. It is a shock to realise that during all this time no lay person, from kings and emperors downwards, could read or write... St Gregory himself is credited with having destroyed many volumes of classical literature, even whole libraries.

And on the next page Clark recognizes Charlemagne as the first great man to emerge from darkness since the collapse of Rome.

By the end of that chapter, “The Skin of out Teeth”, Clarke acknowledges that at the end of the 10th century the Church emerged as a new power in Europe. “It was a great humaniser”. These are the very last words of that chapter: “The long dominance of the barbarian wanderers was over, and Western Europe was prepared for its first great age of civilization”.

The following program of Civilisation is devoted to this awakening, starting from 1100 AD (as shown in the valid part of the graph above). Clarke criticizes aspects of the Enlightenment and Revolution later in his book/TV series.

Any fair reading from history would lead to the conclusion that there was indeed a dark period in the history of Europe, and that deMause is obviously wrong on his ever-ascending graphs.