Foundations Of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World

Foundations Of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World - Robert Bucholz Everything in the world is the way it is because it became that way and is a past function of things which came before it. Nothing ever happens without a reason. This lecture looks at all the pieces that went in to making us who we are and will explain how we became that way.

The real focal point for this lecture series is why did "The Great War" happen? He'll take the listener past that point into WW II and through the Cold War, but to understand those events he must first take the listener on to the journey starting at about 1350 (the start of the black plague an event that acts as good as any other demarcation from the old to the new, the medieval to the modern).

Modernity is characterized by a change in the "chain of being". Each step in progress means a dent in the chain of being, the world in which every one has their place as defined by the Aristotelian world of Heaven, Angels (demons), Man (and Woman), Animals, Plants, and Rocks, or from the divine rights of Kings to the peasants place in the universe. The other major focal point for the Professor is the importance that 'balance of power" had in developing the western world.

There were times I would get lost. A lot of dates, a lot of names and events happening at once. That really can't be helped with a lecture series such as this one since such a wide period of time is covered. I loved it when the professor read the poetry from the pre-Romantic era and clearly demonstrated the difference with the Romantics and what that meant for how we will learn to see ourselves differently going forward.. A lot of gems like that within this lecture. It's great to hear a historian talk about the Reformation, Renaissance, Enlightenment, and the other ages covered. Usually, I get a philosopher's or a theologian's point of view. The Historian's perspective is refreshing.

History is relevant today. He mentions that his students learn about justice and injustice by studying what was done right and what was done wrong. He mentioned that Stalin when he was coming to power would punish all the family members of the perpetrator, and I immediately thought how barbaric, but then I recalled one of the two presidential nominees wants to execute not only the terrorist but the terrorist's family (plus ca change, plus ca meme chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same)).

I think 'the greatest generation" were the WW I vets on the allies side. I see that war as the first stand against German Hegemony and was necessary. The lecturer doesn't. I'm fine with that. I like to be challenged. I like it when some one makes me think beyond my preconceived notions. Also, he ends the lecture at about 2005. If I had listened to it then, I would have been just as rosy about history and democracy and critical thinking as the professor was. I just can't help but note that the financial crisis of 2008 happened and even more critically as mentioned in Scientific American a presidential candidate has said that "global warming is a Chinese hoax", that statement is void of scientific fact, is absurd and belongs in the nut house, and that candidate seems to divide the world into us verse them, a very anti-enlightenment sentiment. We need to constantly study our past so that we don't make the same mistakes. "Those who don't study the past are doomed to repeat it".

The Professor seamlessly ties together large pieces of history and makes it entertaining while never boring (sometimes he did overwhelm, but that's to be expected since there is a lot of ground covered).