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The Greatest Culture since the Ancient Greeks
What makes a Great Culture
Rationality has long been held to be among the highest of all Virtues. The Greeks fauned over it and other cultures have in different ways made themselves a product of it. But if rationality or the pursuit of it puts high standards that the country is expected to pursue. If a country does purse a higher standard of living through being rational, what does it say about the country when it is unable to meet that standard?
A great culture should have outstanding elements in all aspects of society: science, mathematics, art, music, architecture, engineering, religion and law. A great culture should embody great ideals and strive to meet them.
The Ancient Greek Culture
What were the elements of the Greek culture that made them so successful? For one, they were experts in science in mathematics. They created Geometry, and were astronomers. They were architects and engineers. Ptolemy the astronomer set the stage for astronomical observations that would rule until Kepler and Copernicus 1500 years later would change.
Archimedes would define science for almost as long. Pythagoras and Euclid were mathematicians that laid the foundation for Geometry.
Plato and Aristotle helped found philosopy but were grandfathered by Parmenides who did reasoned discourse, Heraclitus and Leucippus were ontologists interested in what was real.
Aeschelus, Euripedes, Aristophanes were dramatists writing plays that are still performed today. Homer, the poet of the Illiad and the Odyssey defined epic poetry.
Two of the most excellent historians who have ever written flourished during Greece's classical age: Herodotus and Thycydides. They set the standard followed by historians on how to research and capture information that becomes a historical document.
In mythology, they created a series of gods and goddesses that became the model for saints and angels that we still use today.
In all this was a great culture and their impact on the world is still felt.
Symbols of Great CulturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Elements of the German Culture
The Prussian/German Culture
After the Greek states were subsumed by the Romans, their impact was not strong. Indeed the Romans had their own high impact on the ways of the world. They too made strides in Poetry, art, and mathematics. But their greatest impact was perhaps in Engineering. Roman Roads and Aqueducts allowed civilization to flourish in remote areas. The Roman Empire set a standard that went unmatched for over 1500 years.
Until the Prussian / German culture was formed. Not only did the Germans surpass the Romans in every way, they also were a match for creativity to the ancient Greeks.
The Germans had great writers and poets. Goethe, Shiller, Rilke, Hesse were just some of them. In music there was Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, and Wagner.
In Mathematics and science there was Gauss, Euler, Leibniz, Einstein, and Heisenberg. In philosophy there was Leibniz, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, and Fichte.
They had great engineers like Von Braun, the Rocket Scientist, Benz the auto engineer.
The Germans had very creative people and were able to dominate European and World culture much like the way the Greeks were in their time.
Social Security was created by Bismark, the conservative Prime Minister.
The German culture was an example of a rational, creative culture. It looked for ways to make the country better through individual initiative. It was bred into the people.
Why did rationality fail? The Germans were perpetrators of two World Wars, and inventors of the greatest killing machines. They even gave a special name to their murderous regime, the Final solution, or Holocaust.
This does not bode well for the rest of the human race. If a great culture can descend to such depths after living at such great heights, then it is possible for any country or culture to do the same. It does not bode well for being rational. That is not to say that it is better to be irrational, or that irrationality is the inevitable reaction to the rational. But it does say that in the human condition fear and hatred can overtake our better judgement.