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Understanding Western Culture Where did it all begin?

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Western Culture Where did it all begin?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Western Culture Where did it all begin?

2 Make a time line of events which influence western civilization Modern Day Mesopotamia

3 Society TraditionsReligionPolitics Art & Literature Philosophy Science & Technology Ethical Values What is Culture? Education Age Social Class Political Affiliation * Each category is perceived and valued differently based on these 4 criteria Freedom of and freedom from. Separate from Gov’t Birthdays, Weddings, Funerals, 4 th of July, Thanksgiving, etc Work, fairness, killing bad, honesty, etc Trusted, valued, encouraged, etc Rugged Individualism, Social mobility Logic and reason Valued, appreciated, controversial, accessible Gov’t system, checks and balances, voting, term limits, etc

4 Western culture ≠ Western Film / TV (not completely accurate, but does influence it)

5 Egypt and Mesopotamia The beginnings of Western civilization can be traced back to the ancient Near East, where people in Mesopotamia and Egypt developed organized societies and created the ideas and institutions that we associate with civilization. Around 3000 B.C.E, people in Mesopotamia and Egypt began to develop cities and wrestle with the problems of organized states. They developed writing to keep records and created literature. They developed new political, military, social, and religious structures to deal with the basic problems of human existence and organization. These first literate civilizations left detailed records that allow us to view how they grappled with three of the fundamental problems that humans have pondered: 1. the nature of human relationships, 2. the nature of the universe, and 3. the role of divine forces in our destiny and daily acts. “Who am I, why am I here, what “role” am I supposed to play. Destiny or free will or somewhere in between? Am I significant or insignificant? Is this the only plane of existence or is there more. Is this my current physical state, will I return as something different? How do I treat other people, how are decisions made, Etc, Etc, Etc.

6 Originates from Ancient Greece (Europe) Socrates, Plato, Aristotle establish the foundations of Western Philosophy Who made Me? Why am I here? What is my purpose in Life?

7 The arts, philosophy, and architecture. The Greeks introduced our cherished concepts of citizens' rights, democracy, and freedoms of speech and religion. They excelled in mathematics, physics and astronomy. The Greeks had a highly developed spiritual life, imparting human traits to their many gods and goddesses. Bad stuff – Vacuum (Nature abhors a Vacuum) Momentum – energy applied at initiation,” runs out” when object stops Greek Contribution to Western Civilization

8 1.- The dialectical method is dialogue between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject, questions are posed to filter out the truth. (Legal system today, lawyers can only “ask questions” of defendants) 2.- Irony - In the case of Socratic irony, Socrates might pretend to think his students wise or he might denigrate his own intelligence, as by pretending he doesn't know the answer. This allows the truth to be revealed by the other person (teacher) or the falsehood of the idea to be revealed by the person talking. 3. – Knowing that you know nothing, …coming from a position of limited or no understanding rather than a position of arrogance, opens the mind to new knowledge Socrates

9 These prisoners live in ignorance with their idea of reality being simplistic shadows cast upon walls, but they know nothing else. Is it wrong that their perception of life is different than those who have been let out of the cave? That all depends on whether or not you think ignorance is bliss. By living in ignorance and leading a shallow life these prisoners don’t know what they’re missing out on in the world above; the shadows are all they know. They may have a superficial glimpse of the world, but they may be happy in their shallow mindset. Plato (Student of Socrates) The idea is….people should continually question and seek the truth, rather than believing only what they perceive. (“seeing is believing” is not good)

10 Spread by Roman Empire (1st Century A.C.E.) Establish law, engineering, and gov’t beyond their immediate borders = acquire cultural aspects from surrounding areas

11 In AD 313, the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal and for the first time, followers of the Christian Faith were allowed to openly worship. Churches were quickly built not just in Rome but throughout the empire. In AD 391, the worship of other gods was made illegal.

12 Influenced by Christianity (4/5th Century) Made the official state religion of the Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic church played a vital role in the development of the new European civilization Religion viewed science as a means to disprove faith, and was therfeore not valued

13 Germanic Kingdoms Emerge His reign was based on harmony which developed between three elements: the Roman past, the Germanic way of life, and Christianity. The Concept of Government Changes – Germans held together by family ties and loyalty, not government – Small communities are governed by unwritten rules and traditions – Germanic warriors pledge loyalty to their chief Charlemagne

14 Because Charlemagne's armies were always fighting, he began to give his warriors land so they could support and equip themselves. With this in mind, Charlemagne was able to secure an army of warriors who were deeply devoted and loyal to him. By the year 800, the Frankish kingdom included all of modern France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, almost all of Germany and large areas of Italy and Spain. Unification under Christianity of most of Europe

15 Invasions of Western Europe The Decline of Learning – As cities are abandoned, level of learning declines – Knowledge of Greek language and culture is almost completely lost – Church was the only connected institution throughout the region

16 In general, Christian values stood directly opposed to those values of classical thought, that is, of the Greco-Roman tradition. This tradition taught that man ought to seek the good life today, here in this world, in the present world, and for the Romans, that meant the Empire. Christianity our life on earth was temporary, a stopping off point before the journey into eternal life. Latin Language of the Greeks is lost to the common people and only retained by the church. Inability to read keeps people in their place and away from knowledge (scientific) General view of life

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18 Stagnated during Dark Ages (5/6th Century) Because religion distrusted science, cultural development essentially stopped

19 Rebirth: Renaissance (14 – 17 th Century) Renaissance - it encompassed a resurgence of learning, art, and widespread educational reform..Its influence affected literature, philosophy, art, politics, science, religion, and other aspects

20 The world's first movable type printing technology was invented and developed in China by the Han Chinese the years 1041 and In Korea, the movable metal type printing technique was invented in the early thirteenth century during the Goryeo Dynasty. In the West, the invention of an improved movable type mechanical printing technology in Europe is credited to Germany in Metal Automated Woodblock

21 New ideas: Scientific Revolution (17 th Century) It was a period when new ideas in physics, astronomy, biology, human anatomy, chemistry, and other sciences led to a rejection of ideas from Ancient Greece and laid the foundation of modern science.

22 the Renaissance enabled a scientific revolution which let scholars look at the world in a different light. Religion, superstition, and fear were replaced by reason and knowledge. Despite some challenges to religious views, however, most notable figures of the scientific revolution—including Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Isaac Newton Copernicus - the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center. Tycho Brahe - that comets were also not atmospheric phenomena, as previously thought. Kepler - Application of geometry and other mathematical principles to planetary movement Galileo - improvements to the telescope, disputed the earth centered universe concept Bacon – created the scientific method Descartes – “I think therefore I am” (father of philosophy) Laws of motion, gravitational laws, invented calculus Scientific Revolution

23 Logic & Reason: Age of Enlightenment (18 th Century) A period of time characterized by the importance of logic and reason “freedom to use one's own intelligence” Separation from King + Religion Common people got a voice Basic challenges to the authority of the king, freedom of speech, press, and religion, and the role of commoners in the government were revolutionary.

24 Independence: American Revolution (Late 18 th Century) Setting the principles of our culture based on individual rights, freedom, entrepreneurial invention, etc

25 Industrial Revolution (19 th Century) Leads to norms on workers rights, working conditions, hours per week, wages, age of workers, social security, health care, etc

26 Modern Civilization (Today) Photo by Steve Rhodes 1 st minority president = opportunity

27 Reason Individualism Happiness Rights Capitalism Reality- or fact-based thought and perception (Aristotle BC) Emphasis on the individual person who is independent and self-reliant Worldly happiness should be the focus of each person's life Individuals should be able to act on their own reason without interference from others – i.e. freedom Recognizes the right of private ownership, capital accumulation, exchange and profit Core Ideas & Values

28 Western Civ still has its roots dislayed everywhere West of the Eastern and South Asian Civilization We live in a multicultural world but,


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