This paper is intended to contain the analysis of the human cultural identity, as seen in the following five historical cultural periods: Enlightenment Culture; Greco-Roman Culture; Judeo-Christian Culture; Renaissance-Reformation Culture; and Industrialization-Modernism Culture. It also embodies examples of each era that are clearly stated, and how they relate to the cultural period.
The cultural identity of the Enlightenment can be described as emphasizing the possibilities of human reason. This idea can be illustrated with such examples as Thomas Jefferson, Denis Diderot, and Protestantism. Thomas Jefferson was considered among one of the most brilliant American exponents of the Enlightenment culture. He had the time and the resources to educate himself in many topics including history, literature, law, architecture, science, and philosophy. He had the motivation and the connections to apply Enlightenment political philosophy to nation-building. Denis Diderot was a French encyclopedist and philosopher, who also composed plays, novels, essays, and art. He greatly influenced other Enlightenment thinkers with his translations of Encyclopedie ou dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des metiers, usually known as Encyclopedie. He used this translation as a powerful propaganda weapon against Ecclesiastical authority, and the semifeudal social reforms of the time. Protestantism is a good example also. It is one of the three major divisions of Christianity. It displays the release of traditional religion and the movement to worldly learning and the rise of protests against the controlled way of expressing ones self. It allows the human himself to reason out the way that he thinks, instead of an authority telling him how to do so
therefore, extending his mind.
The Industrialism-Modernism culture is a culture that represents social, economical, and scientific advancement, as well as self-doubt, uncertainty, and alienation. These traits can be characterized with such examples as Werner Heisenberg, Epicureanism, and Eli Whitney. Werner Heisenberg was a German physicist known especially for his development in quantum mechanics and his principle of indeterminacy, or theory of uncertainty. This theory explained how it is impossible to know specifically the position and momentum of a particle, an electron for example, with accuracy. This demonstrates the distinctive uncertainty of the culture. It created a strong trend of mysticism among scientists who perceive it as a violation to cause and effect laws. Epicureanism is a philosophy based on the teachings of the Greek philosopher Epicuris. His views coincide with those of Heisenberg in the way that they display the incertitude of how it is impossible to know exactly what things will do or go. In example, he suggested that even atoms are free to move around spontaneously, without order. Any invention or its inventor would fit nicely into this cultural topic. Eli Whitney, for instance, and the cotton gin. This invention was one of the most important, it created a very substantial movement in history. Whitney used scientific knowledge to produce a machine that produced economic progress along with the advancement of less manual labor, and more production for sales.
The Greco-Roman culture is one of a male dominant society, and conflicting obedience views. The idea was that men were controlled by reason, and women were controlled by passion, and that if women were not controlled by the practical reasoning men, that disastrous consequences would occur. The male prevalence in this civilization was evident in all perspectives of life including the arts that were created during this time period. For instance, the women were portrayed as clothed, mysterious, and deviant looking and the men as nude, perfected, and authoritative. This philosophical belief, was taken to the absolute extreme. Men were in a sense, afraid, of the disastrous situations
that women might create if given the chance to do so. Hellenism and Hebraism are other Greek philosophies that deal with the ideas of how to think and act. Hellenism is the stressing to see things as they really are, right thinking, reasoning for oneself, and Hebraism is the stressing of conduct and obedience, right acting, and obeying Gods commandments. These two conflicting views were struggled with by every individual.
The Judeo-Christian culture is one of holy relics, gothic and Romanesque styles, and architectural advances. The holy relics were used to establish a higher status among churches. Such tokens as John the Baptists head could be found in the cathedrals across the civilizations. Another way to achieve status for a church was to build the tallest facility that was possible. The idea was that the bigger the church, the better. This led to styles such as Gothic and Romanesque. The best example of the gothic form is Chartres.
The cathedral used advances like the pointed arch and ribbed vault. The Romanesque form was characterized by flying buttresses and stained glass. The flying buttresses not only enabled the churches to be built higher, but also gave them a majestic look.
The Renaissance-Reformation culture is that of a revolution of changes in western civilization. Humanism, the revival of classical learning and speculative inquiry beginning in the fifteenth century in Italy during the early Renaissance, disabled the monopolies of the churchs learning, and spread the ability to gain knowledge. The invention of the printing press with moveable type, enabled the supply of books circulating to expand, leading to increased ideas throughout Europe. The Reformation
took many forms in society, but all of them mainly deal with the idea that knowledge is power, and power was obtained easier because of the creation of the printing blocks,therefore, enabling people to change society because they were more educated.
In conclusion, the preceding information illustrates the cultural periods of Enlightenment; Greco-Roman; Judeo-Christian; Renaissance-Reformation; and Industrialization-Modernism. Each have examples clearly stated, and explain how they relate to the period.