How Would a Carolingian Scholar See the Universe and The World Today? arrow back

How Would a Carolingian Scholar See the Universe and The World Today?

The Universe had been born, 14 billion years ago, from the so-called 'Big Bang', an exceedingly powerful event, which occurred at the subatomic level. From that primordial explosion all the particles, and all the forces had been born, which are still the constituents of the world today. Those particles and those physical forces just get into combinations and progressively give birth to stars and galaxies. Our solar system, with the Earth, is appearing, as far as it is concerned, 4.5 billion years ago. Life appears swiftly on the Earth as, due to the changes which occurred in the original composition of the atmosphere, it turns into a form of life which works based on the photosynthesis of an atmosphere with oxygen. Life, first, exists at the Earth in the seas only, under the form of plants and then of animals. Life then migrates to land. Large reptiles, everywhere, are becoming the predominent form of life! They reign, with no contest, until their disparition, 65 million years ago, which is caused by an asteroidal impactor. They thus let room for mammals, and, so, in a sense, to man. It looks like life be not a phenomenon pecular to the Earth as, as soon as the first stars exist, all the basic bricks of life are already extent. Life, in the Universe, further, seems to be able to appear in varied environments, like the bottom of the oceans, the depths of the Earth, or very acidic conditions, etc. Life however, until now, in the Universe and the solar system, has been proven existing at Earth only!

Mankind, then, appears. Men come from Africa, as they spread all over the world and they are hunters-gatherers. That 'hominization' of great apes is made through long steps which all, however, seem to go in the direction that man is mastering more knowledge and more technology. All the succeding human species are all coming, mainly, from Africa. The last of those, and the most advanced one, is Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens is extent about 500,000 years ago. He also is coming from the African continent as he is always basing his existence upon hunting and gathering of fruits and plants. Homo sapiens is developing an advanced culture, with art, a sense of the religious feelings, etc., and which does not cease to improve. The vision of the world, among the Homo sapiens, is based on the moderating, and civilizing role of women, thus on matriarcate

In three regions of the world -the Middle East, the Indus Valley, in nowaday Pakistan, and the Yellow River Valley, in China- Homo sapiens is leaving his status of hunter-gatherer to become a farmer and a sedentary species. That began progressively, through a more extensive use of the wild breeds of grains and their storage in granaries. As that continues into the definitive birth of agriculture and farming! Human groups, in those three regions, are now basing their existence upon the yearly renewed, cultivation and storage of grains and plants and the tending and use of domesticated animals (goats, sheeps, pigs, etc.). The first human groups of such a 'revolution' in the way of being are first gathering into villages, then into state-cities. The needs of agriculture generate in turn workmanship as merchants are extent too as soon as that epoch, as they roam far away in the search of prized materials or artifacts. The world then is still largely matriarcal as far as its structures, or religions, are concerned. The Neolithics then is just spreading out of its three areas where it had been born. This is mainly due to that farming is allowing human groups to be more numerous and more healthy. Thus, those groups are able to more easily impose their model to the groups of hunters-gatherers. The model is generally adopted because it is a beneficial one, and not by force

The three main areas of the world where the Neolithics had been born along with the world, generally, where the agricultural revolution spread (Americas, Africa, Europe, etc.), eventually come to develop large civilizational areas, which are to form the fundamental civilizations of the history of the world, each with its culture and religion. Those are the Middle East and the Near East, Europe, India, China, the pre-Colombian Americas, or the African empires, etc. Those civilizational areas often express themselves into powerful empires which succede each other in the same area. All those civilizations are complete of their own, in that sense that each of those has a 'weltanschauung' -a general conception of the world- under the form of a philosophy or a religion, and a way to set their economical structures. These conceptions are long-lasting! Even if some of these civilizational areas tend to give more importance to trade and merchants, like the Phenicians or the Muslim world, most of them are terrestrial societies which feature military aristocracies. The 'weltanschauungs' of these civilizational areas are diverse with fatalism and the question of the free will in the Muslim world, the world like facts of conscience for the Buddhists, in Asia, fluidity of mind and practice for the Confucianists, with liberty and mysticism for the Taoists, in China. Or the martial arts -which are a mix of Confucianism and Taoism- in Japan and Korea. The hellenism and neoplatonicism among the Greeks. Or the Roman Catholicism in Europe after 500 A.D. Etc. One of the main evolution of that era was, in Europe, the Middle East, and India, the passage to patriarcate through the advent of the so-called Indo-European peoples, which became more militarized and agressive, which set their rules upon matriarcal societies of those areas. The nomadic tribes of Central Asia, as far as the Eurasiatic continent is concerned, like the Turks or the Mongols, also played a important role towards their surrounding, farming civilizations, like China, the Middle East and even Europe. They there had a destructive role, bringing to the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of varied Chinese dynasties, or the end of the times when the Muslim world had been able to develop some liberal views of Islam. Americas excepted, which tended to remain isolated, those large civilizational areas always were in contact between themselves through the trade routes, like the Silk Road between the Far East and the West, the maritime routes between the Far and the Middle East, or the trans-Saharian routes!

A basic rupture in the history of the world then occurred about 1500 A.D.! That rupture came from civilizational area of Christian Europe. On the one hand, Roman Catholic explorers, who came from Spain and Portugal, managed to conquer the Americas, as, along the coasts of Africa, and in the Far East, they are imposing colonial counters, or even states. The civilizational area of Europe thus is extending its area of grip! On another hand, that expansion of the European civilization is countered -albeit sustained in the same time- by the European Protestants. As they are a factor of division -and thus of weakening- of Europe, the English and Dutch merchants and explorers really take part into the expansion move of the European civilization, mostly through commerce, which is a source of wealth for those. That remarkable move in the history of the world obviously led to a first global conception of the world, and of conflicts altogether! England, a protestant, Anglican power, eventually imposed itself like the first power in the European civilizational area, as its economic and political models were based on a worldwide expansion, constituted by its colonial empire, from India to the American colonies. England, finally, just became the first world power ever! The English Industrial Revolution, the English political system -under the form of the parliamentary regime- along with the English colonial conceptions imposed themselves to the other European nations during the first half of the 19th century as that rule reached its apogee by about 1860. The Industrial Revolution naturally imposed itself too to the civilizational areas which progressively passed under the British domination, or the domination of the European countries which had come to the same conceptions, like India, China, the Ottoman Empire, Africa, etc.

The English societal, political, and economic model however came to be severely questioned, since the second half of the 19th century due to the emergence of challenging models. Some of those came from other protestant countries, like the German industrial society, with tendencies to the social welfare and the Christian-Democrats, or the U.S. model which based upon oil and the reciprocating engine, with the concept, further, of a melting-pot. Some of those challenges came from countries which their own project, like Japan, which ended its policy of isolation towards the West, which adopted from the varied Western societies what its leaders deemed useful for the country, and which based its industry upon large konzerns, or Russia, which had came late to the English-inspired modernity or the ouverture of its tsarists regime! The fight between those opposing conceptions of how a industrial society was to be, which further occurred in the framework of increasing conflicts to extend their colonial empires, eventually came to mean conflicts and, finally, that the English model weakened. Each of those models of a industrial society had generated, or generated, too a so-called 'social question' as the peasants of their former, agricultural societies had been transformed into industrial workers as that transformation was performed more or less integratively! That way, the new social relations as organized inside the industrial societies gave birth to newer conceptions still of a society, with the socialist and communist models which in turn exposed their conceptions in economy and society. That, of course, added to the tensions which had been yielded by the challenges brought to the English model. Since about 1900, until then end of the 20th century, the world endured important disorders, which were further 'globalized'. The countries entered in competition for their colonial empires. Then the First World War occurred. The communism settled into Russia. The Great Depression of 1929 came to increase the crisis, as the Second World War eventually came. The Cold War finally closed the epoch! Rightist autoritarianisms, between the two world wars, too came to existence, with the fascism in Italy, the nazism in Germnay, the franquism in Spain, or the Vichy regime in France, etc. All those regimes were the various answers the elites of the industrial societies set up to confront with socialisms and communisms

The current world thus is a world which has been determined through that history. The Homo sapiens, the hunters-gatherers, the Neolithical civilizations, the apex of Christian Europe by the 13th century A.D., Roman Catholic Great Discoveries of the Renaissance era, protestantisms with political liberalisms and financial capital-based industrialisms, socialisms

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Learning and Knowledge In the Carolingian Times / Erudition et savoir à l'époque carolingienne, Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 12/28/2010. contact us at
Free Web Hosting