Civilization and Social Pathologies

This page is dedicated to preserving civilization. Some characteristics of civilization exist here. Most importantly (and relevant to today) are the discussion social pathologies that destroy civilization and turn people into barbarians.

The banner above is useful to illustrate those who truly understood civilization and struggled to help their people attain a political environment which points to Christ. They understood that He alone can give peace and prosperity. These men truly made and tried to preserve the great civilization of Christendom.
  • St. Constantine the Great - Roman Emperor (converted the world to the Christian Faith)
  • St. Justinian the Great - Roman Emperor (infused Christian culture into law)
  • Alfred the Great (Civilized and United England under his Christian Monarchy)
  • St. Kosmas of Aetolia (re-ignited the Faith and brought literacy back to Greece)
  • Corneliu Codreanu (Leader of the Iron Guard, sought to revive Romanian Orthodox culture)
A Few Points on Civilization
  • I would define civilization as a complex/advanced socio-political entity that has a domination over a geographic area.
  • A civilization is composed of citizens. The citizen is a fundamental entity for a civilization.
    • What is the citizen? Citizenship is a legal status with certain privileges along with it.
    • Who is a citizen depends on the approach a civilization takes towards its citizens. Someone has classified two approaches as "thick" and "thin".
      • Thin citizenship only recognizes only the minimal requirements to keep the state alive. Thin citizenship is the base common denominator for participation by all those the state recognizes to participate in itself. Thin citizenship leads makes a nation very susceptible to collapse because citizenship has very little inherent value. A thin citizenship approach is used by most modern liberal democracies (if not all). In these democracies we have a debate whether or not foreigners should be citizens or not. Traditionally, citizenship was granted by those who had proven valuable service to the state and had been known to reflect the culture of the nation. If many people do not exhibit these characteristics of citizenship, then their is a block of people who can steer the nation in a direction harmful to itself.
      • Thick citizenship accommodates the various people that relate to the state and also the degree to which they bring value to the nation. Roman citizenship an excellent example of using thick citizenship. The Roman state was a solid and strong apparatus due to how it was structured and organized it's citizens. Roman citizenship consisted of certain legally recognized classes that held legally defined rights. Some examples of this was the class of Cives Romani consisted of sub-classes of non optimo iure who had the rights of ius commercii and ius conubii (rights of property and marriage) and another sub-class of optimo iure who held rights of ius suffragiorum and ius honorum (rights to vote and to hold office). However, the class of Provinciales consisted of those falling under Roman influence or control but only had the rights of the ius gentium (dealing with the international scope of Roman affairs laws dealing with situations between Roman citizens and foreigners; considered as the international law of Roman times). For a list of classes and rights in the Roman legal code see the wikipedia article, here.
  • The altar is the center of civilization. The altar points to whom the people worship and adore. Those who are closest to the altar are those who are most valued in a civilization. In Christian culture the altar is the place where Christ is found. In the post-Christian, modern culture many idols are found in the altars of the populace's hearts. For example, money (a huge one), self, comfort, etc. These idols are that to which people sacrifice their time and money. Therefore, the direction of modern civilization is shown. In the Christian culture, when Christ is on the altar, selflessness and love, truth and goodness, healing and godliness are the gifts returned to the Christian for the gift of their energies to God. This makes for a strong, healthy, and peaceable society. This is an orientation we should look towards again because it clearly is not present in any meaningful effect in modern society. Orthodoxy can help the West with this.
  • The throne is the face of civilization. The throne is to communicate a message of one-ness and ultimate authority for the people. It is to be an icon of God's reign who provides creative and sustaining power into his creation. Likewise, the monarch is to sustain and protect the ability of his people to pursue godliness. This will be his greatest aid in a peaceful, and pleasing reign, i.e. his people pursing godliness. The throne protects this at every place and at all times. One-ness is a key aspect of the throne. With a multiplicity of wills their conflict and violence are bred. This one monarch is to be the epitome of one culture that the people possess. They look to their monarch as defining culture and protecting it from all hostile influences. Since God is one, then creation works properly in the context of one-ness. When you have democracy or multiculturalism then you get the 20th century which was by far the bloodiest in human history.
  • Rights are imaginary or as the intellectuals (who realize this) call "normative fictions." Enlightenment-era rights (e.g. life, liberty, and property) are primarily the normative fictitious rights to which are being referred. These "rights" the Enlightenment claim came from God and not the government. This falls under the heresy of Gnosticism (see here). Rights really do come from the government and not from God, because rights can only exist within a legal framework and are nothing and nonsensical without a government. This is a huge chasm between American Christians and Traditional Christians. It is rooted in how we are to understand the Enlightenment and the beliefs that came from it. Traditional Christians can discern that Gnosticism made significant inroads into secular philosophy. American Christians simply accepted this heresy, framed politically, as Christianity. No where in the Bible does it say rights come from God. If one believes in Sola Scriptura on top of it, it's just one of many reasons, why Protestant thinking in America is seen as a joke among some Traditional Christians.
  • Culture exists within a nation. They are interrelated. Culture makes use of nationhood to express itself. Nation draws from culture for its own health and protects the culture. The following quotes are from Fr. Georgios Metallinos and taken from this article.
    • "The elements, which compose a culture, are not simply the folkloric ones that can be brought to the surface in certain cases (festival, celebration, etc.), or dealt with in the artistic field. The issue is not to recall elements of our culture (as peculiarities), that can, for instance, be easily found in other languages. The problem of identifying ourselves with our culture is when we cannot live without these elements. Someone participates in his culture, by experiencing these particular elements as something inseparable from his own existence."
    • "Culture is the imprint, within historic reality, of the consciousness, the expression and realization of the world of the soul. The formation of the environment within these conscious limits, outlines a specific culture. The conscience of a group is the same as its culture."
    • "We [the Orthodox] have a culture that creates saints, holy people. Our people's ideal is not to create wisemen. Nor was this the ideal of ancient Hellenic culture and civilization. Hellenic anthropocentric (human-centered) Humanism is transformed into Theanthropism (God-humanism) and its ideal is now the creation of Saints, Holy people who have reached the state of theosis (deification)."
    • "The Empire of New Rome... with Constantinopole as the New Rome (11/5/330 A.D.)...was based on the triptych: 1)Roman state structure, 2) Hellenic Education and 3) Christianity, which was gradually shaped into Orthodoxy."
    • "The entire Empire functioned, in the minds of its citizens, as the 'Church' (ekklesia), that is a gathering of believers in Christ, with Orthodoxy serving as the common link between them. Orthodoxy determined their nationality, so that the civil title Romaios meant 'citizen of the New Rome: Orthodox'." Fr. George seems to make the Empire an icon of the Church by positing just as the Church consists of a variety of men and nations, so the Empire consists of different cultures and nations with Orthodoxy as the glue of the Empire. This was King Alfred's approach in England (see here).
    • "The Orthodox conscience is defined by three points: the first one is faith that the best and most authentic expression of our culture is the life of our Holy Fathers and Mothers, our Saints. The second is to be conscious of the superiority of the Orthodox culture, as opposed to ancient Hellenic culture; ancient Hellenic culture is baptized and reborn. The third point is to be conscious of the superiority of Orthodox culture, compared to the European culture."
  • A key concept which is lost on modern man, and if any thought is given to it the secular phronima will brings men to the opposite conclusion of the truth. That is, advancement in the spiritual life of the Church precedes meaningful and lasting advancements in worldly areas. Most intellectuals today will tell you the opposite by saying if we can get fantastic technological inventions or brilliant economic theories that man will advance into greater realms of life. The Church and the Romans who were servants of the Church is historical proof that it is the other way around.
    • The year 370 A.D is when the first (St. Basil) of the Three Hierarchs (St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. John Chrysostom) reigned. The death of the last one (St. John) was in 407 A.D. This is a period where thousands upon thousands of men joined the Church. It had it's really hard times in these few decades but the Church was a brilliant star bringing the entire Empire to Christ despite all this under the leadership of these great saints. What then followed the legacy and successes of the Church (characterized by the reign of the Three Hierarchs) was an explosion in other world achievements.
    • The legal code Codex Justinianus was created which became the basis for all Western law. Medicine and Hospitals went from a practice and concept no one knew about to being virtually spread across every portion of the Empire and available to all people. This was an explosion of medical science and the invention of the hospital as we know it today. The Hagia Sophia Cathedral was an technological and architectural accomplishment that the world had never seen before. It is the Jewel of Christendom and converted the entire Slavic world to the True Faith. It combined architectural styles not one thought was possible to combine and did it with beauty and infusing meaning into all of it. All these things you see appear in Roman society after the success of the Church in the Roman Empire. The Church was saving the whole Empire at the end of the fourth century and at the beginning of the fifth you begin to see these remarkable changes in Roman society.
The Church and Civilization
One of the things that drew me to the Orthodox Faith was this plaguing question I had been wrestling with. How is it the Church in America--after the success of the Billy Graham Crusades, and after the organization of the Evangelical political arm, and after the reign of such people in the 80s--how is it after all this, the "Church" was utterly powerless to stop the devastating march of demonic/secular forces that were erasing a Christian heritage? Why was the Church completely incompetent to do anything about this? How is it the Church won the entire pagan world to Christ and America's Christians had the reigns of power in our country and could not even slow the march of the neo-pagans? When I learned the difference was that the two Christian Faiths that won the world to Christ and we experience in America today were not even close to the same Faith, it all began to make sense. American Christianity does not heal mankind. It only exists to make adequate socio-economic voting units without any serious and noticeable character flaws. Orthodox Christianity exists to make a man into a god, by grace. Huge difference.

There is the life of the Holy Spirit, His power, and intimate knowledge of God and all Creation to inform the saint how to bring all men, societies, and the earth into the oneness of Christ. Our Saints are working with all men to overcome all the powers of darkness, demons, and Satan and bring them to a knowledge of the Truth. When the Roman Empire had repented and chosen Christ, civilization was baptized and reborn. The Church redefined and sanctified civilization. How the Church went about this work was through a very rigorous Catechism. Pagans, entering the Church by the thousands, did not simply attend a band concert and lengthy sermon once a week. They were in the Church everyday for years before baptism, proving to the Church they had given up all pagan thought and practices. The Church taught them about how they can truly attract God's deifying energy, power, and grace into their souls and bodies to make them like Christ-God. This entire change in worldview, this new phronima, and this brand new perspective on all things was instilled into the masses of the Empire's citizens. They then had all this from which to draw as the Empire was making it's day-to-day and important long-term decisions. The course of the Empire was set under illumination from the godly-minded--with some intense struggles--but generally in the direction toward Christ and communal life of the Trinity.

What this specifically looked like is shown in the changing role of the Emperor, of marriage laws, education, monastic influence at all levels of society, and public holidays to name a few. This is mostly evident in history and canon law. Over time the entire calendar of festivals and religious celebrations moved away from pagan practices to Christian practices. It was not simply Christmas and Easter (as the case in America), it was Christmas with its 40 Advent Fast, Easter with its 40 day Lenten Fast, Pentecost, with the Apostles Fasts, Feasts of many saints in many villages, Conception, Circumcision, Ascension, Baptism, Transfiguration of Christ, Birth of His Mother, Her entrance into the Temple. Then her Death and the Fast attached to it. So many seasonable observance to always keep the loving work of our Creator in its many dimensions on our mind and celebrating them in our hearts. Monasteries were also a powerful force in society, sometimes acting as effective correctional facilities, turning criminals into saints, a retreat for the Faithful in the world to learn from those who could make leaps in bound in the spiritual life and offer advice and aid to their worldly existence.

Demonic Sources of Civilization's Pathology in Recent Times: