I hold that civilizations rise and fall in terms of the response of their peoples to visions of the Light. The Light of Civilization gives instances of how a vision of the Light has enabled a religion, and therefore a culture and civilization, to grow (for example, the visions of Christ and Mohammed) or to be renewed (for example the visions of Mani and St Bernard). When the tradition of the Light extends over five thousand years, can we believe with the sceptics that although the Light was an issue of the past, in the days of the Romans and of the Templars, it is not an issue today? Can we ignore the tradition, the pattern, of five thousand years? In the dead civilizations absence of the Light is a symptom (cause?) of decline. When it is to be found in past civilizations can we believe that it is not to be found in our own European or North-American civilizations today? We live in a world of American Presidents and British Prime Ministers, of economic forecasts and trade figures and live television link-ups, and the Light is ignored in the media. Yet the Christian vote put Bush Jr back in power for a second term in 2005. Can we – when the tradition, the pattern, indicates otherwise – avoid connecting the widespread ignoring of the Light in Europe with the state of our European Christian civilization today?
A civilization’s response, or lack of response, to the Light will affect its outcome according to my view.
Each civilization’s Light originated in an earlier civilization and migrated to a new culture, which it conquered and absorbed. It created a new religion through a religious unification and a central idea to which peoples were attracted. This sustained a growing civilization. The Light has preceded the civilization’s genesis.
Nicholas Hagger is a poet, man of letters, cultural historian and philosopher. During his career he taught English Literature at universities in Iraq, Libya and Japan. He has studied Islamic and Oriental philosophy, and led a group of Universalist philosophers. A prolific writer, Hagger is the author of 46 books comprising works on literature, history and philosophy. He was awarded the Gusi Peace Prize for Literature in 2016.
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