Aristóteles com um busto de Homero - 1653.
De Pierre Manent, como o ocidente criou a modernidade, ou, porque é que o homem moderno precisa da tradição.
Um texto a ler integralmente City, Empire, Church, Nation: How the West created modernity.
Inherent in the idea of a project are the beliefs that we are capable of acting and that our action can transform the conditions of our life. Many analysts of modernity have insisted on the second point, the transformative or constructive ambition of the modern project. But we must not pass over the first point too quickly. We are capable of acting—a world is contained in those words! Human beings have always acted in some way, but they have not always known that they were capable of acting. There is something terrible in human action: what makes us human is also what exposes us, takes us out of ourselves, and sometimes causes us to lose ourselves. In the beginning, human beings gathered, fished, hunted, or even made war, which is a kind of hunting; but they acted as little as possible, leaving much to the gods and tying themselves down with prohibitions, rites, and sacred restraints. Historically, properly human action first appears as crime or transgression. This, according to Hegel, is what Greek tragedy brings to light: innocently criminal action. Tragedy recounts the passage from what precedes action to properly human action.
Today in Europe, civic activity is feeble, the religious Word almost inaudible. Yet as we noted at the outset, the modern project continues. Is it merely running on its own inertia, or is the ceaseless quest that I have just described still going on? To answer that question, it may be useful to offer a description of Europe’s present situation concerning the relationship between speech and action.
Europe produced modernity—and for a long time, Europe was the master and possessor of modernity, putting it to the almost exclusive service of its own power. But this transformative project was inherently destined for humanity as a whole. Today, Bacon and Descartes rule in Shanghai and Bangalore at least as much as in London and Paris. Europe finds itself militarily, politically, and spiritually disarmed in a world that it has armed with the means of modern civilization. Soon it will be wholly incapable of defending itself. It has already been incapable of speaking up for itself for a long time, since it confuses itself with a humanity on the path to pacification and unification.
By renouncing the political form that was its own and by which it had attempted, with some success, to resolve the European problem, Europe has deprived itself of the means of association in which its life had found the richest meaning, diffracted in a multiplicity of national languages that rivaled one another in strength and in grace. What will come next?