The rich history of the western culture is one thing that has always intrigued me. Every moment when we get a chance to revisit our past, we interestingly get to interact with a sudden newness that leaves our perspectives changed in a great manner. This is exactly how I feel when it comes to talking about the civilization which took place in the west.
The time span within which the civilization of the west took place saw the introduction of many aspects and ideas. Great minds were revealed and well known philosophers, psychologists and scientists played a big role in determining the face of this period. It is the very moment in the transition of the western image which saw the introduction of many philosophical ideas (Davidson, 2006ss). As a matter of facts, most of these philosophies and ideas have since been incorporated into many aspects of human life for instance in government leadership and in the constitutions.
Before moving on to make any further analysis of what this period comprised, I would like to note that the importance of what happened during this time may largely depend on the perspective of the people and the influence it had on them. In line with that, it is not logical to conclude that the period which marked the western civilization was a great and vital one in its history, not until we lay down the facts that will help confirm this. This discussion shall therefore comprise a discussion of some of the individuals and activities which took place during this period. At the same time, I will seek to explore how these ideas and phenomena changed a number of things and perhaps influenced the current way of things. In a nut shell, the research shall be on western civilization with a special consideration of the period of enlightenment.
To begin with, I would like to say that one of the major periods that has mostly been used to describe the face of the western civilization is the period of enlightenment. This is the very period which birthed great minds and hence philosophies . The effects of what happened during that time have since been felt and made use of. From a thorough analysis of the historical records, I realized a number of individuals who were instrumental during this time. They include a group of great minds from different countries like, Captain James cook, Montesquieu, Diderot, Voltaire, Bernard de Fotenlle, David Hume, Adam Smith, Rousseau and Mary Astell just to mention but a few.
The individuals who I have mentioned above are some of the ones responsible for the great ideas and philosophies which continue to drive this world even long after they are gone. For instance, Voltaire, Montesquieu and Diderot who have been famously referred to as the three French giants played a big role in changing the type of governments in the places where they lived (Furbank, 1992). Their philosophies and ideas were and have still been incorporated in many forms of leaderships as well as the constitution. The theory of the separation of powers and the philosophy of good governance were both founded and supported by these people. In real sense, much of this is what we see in our governments today. This shows how influential these people were and have probably continued to be.
In addition to that, there is the theory of ‘the plurality of worlds’ as well as the concept of the legacy of Locke and Newton. All these took place during the period of enlightenment and such an issue as a new skepticism which was brought about by Bernard de Fontelle changed the perspective of many a people towards the concept of leadership and the general way of understanding and handling the nature of human beings.
In addition, the individuals especially the three French giants contributed a lot in the study of the science of man. For instance, Diderot did extensive research and presented accurate findings based on effective studies(Shackleton, 1961). With this, they provided a good basis for the people especially the leaders to understand the dynamics which surround the nature of human beings and the society at large. Other individuals like Adam Smiths were the founders of the great theories of economics. Their ideas were influential in many countries as they helped stabilize the economies of many of these regions during and after this period. Perhaps the climax of all these came later on when the period referred to as the ‘later enlightenment’ emerged. Many a philosophers and scientists like Mary Astell and Rousseau introduced a number of theories and ideas for instance the study and understating of the high culture as well as the establishment of the social environment of philosophies.
Furthermore, some other aspects like popular cultures, religion and churches especially during the eighteenth century are some of the pertinent issues which also contributed a lot in shaping the image of western civilization. At this point, certain issues like the punishment of crimes and the forms of government were also revisited (Davidson, 2006). By studying the involvement of great minds like Fredrick William and by an analysis of the form of government that existed in Russia under Catherine, one is able to deduce a lot about the transition which occurred over time during this period. The period simply had a lot and much has been confirmed above. It actually deserves the importance with which people have always viewed it.
In conclusion, I would like to say that a number of things can be noted above which help emphasize the fact that the western civilization marked one of the busiest periods in the history of the west. Just as I said earlier, many things came up, many ideas were birthed, many philosophies were put across. All of these contributed in shaping a number of aspects both during that time and today. In a nut shell, western civilization led to a tremendous transition and perhaps the period of enlightenment can be said to have laid a great foundation to this transition. At this point I feel more convinced and confident saying that contents of these period were many and the analysis of the historical data reveals that that the period actually entailed much and has therefore remained vital in the history of the west.
- Davidson, Ian (2006): The Western Culture Grove Press: New York 2006. ISBN 9780802142368.
- Furbank, P(1992): The Great Philosophers of the Enlightenment Knopf publishers: New York. ISBN 0-679-41421-5
- Shackleton, R(1961): Trends in the Western Civilization. (Oxford: Clarendon Press of Oxford University Press,