The Unity of Civilization eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about The Unity of Civilization.
obscurantism; and another will say in his bitterness that the new world is the abode of two other evil spirits—­nationalism and commercialism.  One thing is perhaps certain.  We cannot, as far as human sight can discern, ever hope to reconstruct unity on the old basis of the Christian commonwealth of the Middle Ages.  Yet need is upon us still—­need urgent and importunate—­to find some unity of the spirit in which we can all dwell together in peace.  Some have hoped for unity in the sphere of economics, and have thought that international finance and commerce would build the foundations of an international polity.  Their hopes have had to sleep, and a year of war has shown that ‘a synchronized bank-rate and reacting bourses’ imply no further unity.  Some again may hope for unity in the field of science, and may trust that the collaboration of the nations in the building of the common house of knowledge will lead to co-operation in the building of a greater mansion for the common society of civilized mankind.  But nationalism can pervert even knowledge to its own ends, turning anthropology to politics, and chemistry to war.  There remains a last hope—­the hope of a common ethical unity, which, as moral convictions slowly settle into law, may gradually grow concrete in a common public law of the world.  Even this hope can only be modest, but it is perhaps the wisest and the surest of all our hopes. Idem scire is a good thing; but men of all nations may know the same thing, and yet remain strangers one to another. Idem velle idem nolle in re publica, ea demum firma amicitia est.  The nations will at last attain firm friendship one with another in the day when a common moral will controls the scope of public things.  And when they have attained this friendship, then on a far higher level of economic development and with an improvement by each nation of its talent which is almost entirely new—­they will have found again, if in a different medium, something of the unity of mediaeval civilization.


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Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition), articles on ‘Crusades’ and ‘Empire’.

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The Unity of Civilization from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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