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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Historical question: The most important person in the development of      Home login  
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 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 1
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culturePage 1 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Hey guys,

This topic was inspired by a survey done among academics, asking who they thought was the most important person in the development of western culture. I thought it might be interesting to do the same with the members of this forum so here it is. Please state the person's name, and a short explanation why (and I guess I can collate the results after a week or so).

(please note that this is just for fun/interest - the results won't be used anywhere)
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 2
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History
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/22/2012 10:41:30 AM
I could do with a bit more detail.

Can you narrow down what you mean by "influential," and by "western culture?" Sorry for my Historians type questions. Basically, I run into a lot of people who say "culture," when they really mean something more like "socio-economic stratification," or perhaps "who came to be in charge of our mutual fates and why."

Influence can be positive or negative, and plenty more people have been used as icons on order for OTHER people to "influence" society, using the more famous person as a front. Jesus and other such iconic, and semi-mythic people come to mind in that sense.

Hugh Hefner has been said to have been extremely influential, as far as promoting more open sexuality in the United States, at least, but if one delves into the history of his time, they will find (if they don't blind themselves) that he was only one relatively small player in the variegated rivers of change which swept our lives along in the 1960's forward.

Adolf Hitler's efforts generated huge shifts in the course of history, and in how people deal with each other.

"Culture" is also often used as a word to refer to the Arts and to Philosophies, and more. So again, what version of "culture" are you asking about?
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 3
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History
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/22/2012 10:51:09 AM
Can you narrow down what you mean by "influential," and by "western culture?"

Here's how Wiki defines western culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_culture):

Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Western lifestyle or European civilization, is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies. The term has come to apply to countries whose history is strongly marked by European immigration, such as the countries of The Americas, and the countries of Australasia, and is not restricted to the continent of Europe.

Western culture is characterised by a host of artistic, philosophic, literary, and legal themes and traditions; the heritage of Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Jewish, and Latin ethnic and linguistic groups, and Christianity, which played an important part in the shaping of Western civilization since at least the 4th century. Also contributing to Western thought, in ancient times and then in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance onwards, a tradition of rationalism in various spheres of life, developed by Hellenistic philosophy, Scholasticism, humanism, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. Values of Western culture have, throughout history, been derived from: political thought, widespread employment of rational argument favouring freethought; assimilation of human rights; the need for equality; and democracy.

(please refer to the Wiki article for specifics)

As for "influential", I mean who had the most impact in the shaping or spread of said culture.
 allthegoodnamesrtaken1
Joined: 1/12/2012
Msg: 4
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/22/2012 11:01:00 AM
Great Topic :-)

I have several in mind but they might be too controversial.....I'm going with Leonardo Da Vinci.
Master painter, Writer, Military war machine engineer, Mathematician, Sculptor and several more.
Most great historical figures are known for one incredible "gift" Da Vinci was known for a number of artistic gifts.

Nikola Tesla....can't leave him out. Anyone have a Tesla coil handy?
 generlee
Joined: 12/10/2005
Msg: 5
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History
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/22/2012 1:03:20 PM
a rather time sensitive question......Plato for the old schoolers.......Tom Edison for the 20th Century; He is most

responsible for jump-Starting the TV & motion picture business--which of course, few people seem to be able to live

without. And Just between you and me, there is no single person who qualifies as "most important". When asked by

a follower, "why do you call me good?" Yahusha [ not gee-Suz] replied; 'There is no One good--except the Father."
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 6
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History
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/22/2012 3:24:09 PM
Just for the record, the results of that survey showed that most academics thought that Alexander the Great was the most influential person for western culture. This is because Alexander, through his conquests, spread Greek culture and influence throughout the world (this also suggests that those academics saw our society as being rooted in ancient Greek culture). I would also rank Alexander pretty high (although I'm sure Greek ideas could have been spread in other ways as well).
 Mooseee
Joined: 7/4/2011
Msg: 7
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History
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/22/2012 11:16:59 PM
The Answer to your question is: Hermes. He is the master of knowledge and wisdom.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 8
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/23/2012 6:35:08 AM

This is because Alexander, through his conquests, spread Greek culture and influence throughout the world (this also suggests that those academics saw our society as being rooted in ancient Greek culture). I would also rank Alexander pretty high (although I'm sure Greek ideas could have been spread in other ways as well).


Excellent historiographic observations there, Demigod. I was thinking much the same.

The more I've read, the more I've come to suspect that there is far less ACTUAL Greek heritage involved with what we call Modern Western Culture. What I've seen instead, is that there is a long line of people who "borrowed" the authority of Greek and Roman heritage for themselves, in order to maintain power. Alexander's empire impressed the ancient world so much, that when the Romans decided to take things over, they opted to adapt their Gods to Greek ones, and borrowed lots of Greek culture, because they looked up to Alexander so much.

But a lot of such borrowing and attribution has taken place, without the actual culture being brought forward.

During the late 18th Century, there was so much admiration of the power of the French monarchical state, that even as Napoleon was invading, Russian nobility insisted that everyone at court, speak French, to show that they were "classy."

As for the spread of Greek influence, I don't know how much of it was due to conquest, since there have been many large empires that lasted much longer than Alexander's, without having had us claim that our culture depended upon them. Greeks also spread throughout the Mediterranean basin as seagoing merchants. This might have had a greater result of spreading culture than Alexander's conquests did, especially since people kept trading with the Greeks no matter who was officially in charge of the political power, and no matter who collected taxes.

So I guess being the picky person that I am, I wouldn't go with Alexander himself as being all that influential. He himself didn't even survive the creation of his own Empire; so I would probably have to attribute any Greek CULTURAL influence of the existence of the Empire, to his generals who actually ran the thing in chunks, after Alexander died.

So this is an excellent discussion. Finding actual influential people is a pleasant challenge. I think I would go more with the combination of the philosophers and the political leaders who supported them, who promoted freedom of thought, and the ascendancy of reason (or at least secular concerns) over blind allegiance to central-authority belief systems. Therefore I like Plato and Socrates, more than Alexander from the Greeks.

In a real way, many of these kinds of people served to REVEAL what the actual culture of the west was, to itself, by firmly setting aside the puffery of cover stories set up by the previous regimes of power brokers.
 Kohmelo
Joined: 9/20/2011
Msg: 9
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History
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/23/2012 4:18:54 PM
Though I'd say it would have occurred without him, Alexander Graham Bell... or one of the other major contributors to telecommunications.

There is nothing more critical to the reshaping and resizing of the modern world than the ability to communicate instantly over a distance.
 billingsmason
Joined: 2/3/2012
Msg: 10
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/23/2012 7:05:19 PM
THE most ?........ very difficult to narrow down.

My guess would be Pythagoras.

Every single building in the development of western culture is built according to his study.
The square ie 90 degree angle, is the driving force of all building, city layout, even down to most other things.... instruments, music, vehicles, all engineering feats, ect....
nearly everything written is done on paper with square edges/corners
navigation is based using his pure math...
fabric and textiles, agriculture, commerce, business, government, philosophy, academics

there are so very few things NOT touched by his development.... it's hard to come up with anything
as far as development... his hand is in more pies than anyone, off the top of my head anyways.




he was even a advocate for women's right.... allowing them into his society, to be taught and carry on his teachings.
some continued on to become famous philosophers.
 peakbagger7
Joined: 5/31/2010
Msg: 11
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/23/2012 10:24:16 PM
Johannes Gutenberg - The inventor of the Printing Press

Hands Down
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 12
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/23/2012 11:08:51 PM
I too am inclined to think in terms of a great conquering empire when thinking in terms of the spread of western culture, so obviously, the most influential person is the one who created or expanded the greatest empire in all human history to conquer not only the West, but all four directions on the compass to the extent that the entire globe is now subject to it, and paying tribute to it without even knowing it has been conquered.

That person is the one who created the conquering strategy such that his descendants would conquer and enslave the entire globe with it. His strategy virtually defines the modern western culture with its simple, monopolistic philosophy of wealth accretion.

I can think of no other person who has been even a fraction as important to the development and expansion of the now global western culture of debt slavery he defined which was eventually imposed on us all; the culture that exploited capitalism by the control of capital and which has now brought the world to its knees and currently lends back bits of the world to the people who once owned it; the culture of economic conquering and domination; the culture of the Bank.

That person was Mayer Amschel Rothschild.

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." -- Mayer Amschel Rothschild

"I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire, ...The man that controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire. And I control the money supply" - Mayer's son Nathan

"Under the surface, the Rothschilds long had a powerful influence in dictating American financial laws. The law records show that they were powers in the old Bank of the United States [abolished by Andrew Jackson]." -- Gustav Meyers

"You are a nest of vipers and thieves, and by the grace of the almighty God, I will root you out!" -- Andrew Jackson

"I killed the Bank!" -- Andrew Jackson's Tombstone inscription (The bank he killed was resurrected in 1913 and was called the Fed.)

"The few who could understand the system will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on its favours, that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of the people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests." -- John Sherman

'The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world." -- Carroll Quigley

"For the first time in its history, Western Civilization is in danger of being destroyed internally by a corrupt, criminal ruling cabal which is centered around the Rockefeller interests, which include elements from the Morgan, Brown, Rothschild, Du Pont, Harriman, Kuhn-Loeb, and other groupings as well. This junta took control of the political, financial, and cultural life of America in the first two decades of the twentieth century." -- Carroll Quigley

"The Rothschilds, and that class of money-lenders of whom they are the representatives and agents - men who never think of lending a shilling to their next-door neighbors, for purposes of honest industry, unless upon the most ample security, and at the highest rate of interest - stand ready, at all times, to lend money in unlimited amounts to those robbers and murderers, who call themselves governments, to be expended in shooting down those who do not submit quietly to being robbed and enslaved." -- Lysander Spooner

"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits." -- Sir Josiah Stamp

"We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent." -- Paul Warburg

We have had that world government for many years…Do we like it, or not?
Whether we do or not, it now defines our modern western culture.
 Just___Jim
Joined: 10/21/2012
Msg: 13
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/24/2012 3:35:45 PM
The most important person in western culture?

As it can't only just be in just one person,but many,but in that goal is one, and it's call freedom!

And as in The Founding Fathers, The Bill of Rights, the US Constitution.
 afucwit
Joined: 8/10/2012
Msg: 14
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/24/2012 7:40:12 PM
my vote is Genghis Khan He depopulated the land bordering Western Europe and in doing so, removed any realistic threat of invasion by a non christian culture, At that time we were still a collection of unorganised self serving independent states/countries/groups. and as such we could never have withstood a Mongol or Muslim invasion. the only reason we stopped the spread of Islamic culture was because Genghis Khan had weakened the muslim states to a collective level matching our own, Perhaps another reason for Genghis Khan is that he is genetically the common ancestor of most/all the people alive today, (please note i'm not really sure about this info) also I believe that without his influence/mass murder, (no need to split hairs/heads over it) the forests of Russia/Europe would have long since been cut down and burnt as fuel, leaving the soil the poorer and unable to support the increasing demand, for land and food. When this happened on Easter island, the society fractured into smaller groups constantly at war with each other, until they had virtually self destructed. the land could not support the population and as they had no wood to build boats to escape the island the culture or social order broke down to the point of basic survival, eventually they were taken as slaves by the first people they encountered. Genghis Khan gave our culture/social groups the time and space for continuous growth along with the timber to build ships capable of sailing the major oceans and seas enabling us to access even greater resources and also to spread our culture world wide ..
 LennyPane
Joined: 2/2/2011
Msg: 15
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/24/2012 11:57:26 PM
Extremely surprised nobody has nominated Leonardo Da Vinci...
Most obvious reasons would be anatomy and art.
 maybe_innocent
Joined: 12/16/2012
Msg: 16
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/25/2012 10:41:11 AM
setting religion aside; I dont think western culture can be attributed to any one person. In my opinion western culture is more a product of the whole, all the historical figures played their part in changing our world into what it is today
 RussArtLover
Joined: 5/13/2010
Msg: 17
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/25/2012 11:25:33 AM
Probably Hitler; the way things have gone so haywire in our efforts to Not emulate him.
Racial purity... ...lots of bipolar muts, happy campers one day, dire straights the next.
Technological advance... ...doled out by the month to support cheaters.
Censorship... ...porn stars, tattoo geniuses, religious gangsters.
just and observation.
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 18
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/25/2012 10:17:38 PM
Merry Christmas Trulio and glad to see you are still here! Most important person in the development of western culture would be....oh, can't decide. There were so very many.
 relaxingwithyou
Joined: 12/2/2012
Msg: 19
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 12:03:22 PM
In an attempt to rationalize to myself why I was on the board of a Christian charity I extensively researched the Christian religion looking for some semblance of sanity in it's rather gory history, and all the way up to the current child abuse atrocities of the Catholic church.

What I learned from my states reference Library knocked my socks off, and the last thing I expected to find. Jesus turned the world upside down. The bible was written 70 years after he passed due to a high percentage of the area population having dreams and visions of him for almost a century after his passing. It was common to "see" him while experiencing an epiphany of sorts. Kinda like all the sighting of his mother Mary in the last few centuries but much more common and wide spread.

His presence and afterlife appearances relentlessly changed the mindset from an eye for an eye with the idea of forgiveness and love. Maybe because it was pre-industrial and no one had a t.v. that they dreamed and had visions for so long. Has anyone heard of this with any other historical figure?
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 20
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 3:41:30 PM

His presence and afterlife appearances relentlessly changed the mindset from an eye for an eye with the idea of forgiveness and love.


I guess the crusades were about spreading forgiveness and love, and burning people at the stake is a way of forgiving people. What peculiar ways of showing love and forgiveness.

OT:

Undoubtedly Jesus was very influential in the development of Western culture. However, for a positive, and earlier influence, I'm inclined to agree with those that named Alexander the Great as the most influential individual. While religion will eventually become a dark historical fact, the Greek contribution will endure and be admired for as long as we keep making history.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 21
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 4:33:17 PM
Justlookingvt: I ask to please refrain from criticizing the views of others. I want to prevent this from turning into a flame war :)
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 4:35:35 PM

Merry Christmas Trulio and glad to see you are still here! Most important person in the development of western culture would be....oh, can't decide. There were so very many.

Yes, picking just one person is undoubtedly difficult. It doesn't have to be an objective thing - you can decide subjectively (like I said, this is just for interest/fun).
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 23
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 4:58:52 PM



I ask to please refrain from criticizing the views of others. I want to prevent this from turning into a flame war :)


I did not criticize his choice of Jesus. I felt it was important to show his contribution wasn't simply limited to the statement:



His presence and afterlife appearances relentlessly changed the mindset from an eye for an eye with the idea of forgiveness and love.


While this statement certainly summarizes _some_ of Jesus' preachings and influence, it leaves out a significant influence towards those who believed in a different god, one that is quite the opposite to forgiveness and love, and one that had significant consequences.

I agree, and have no "criticism" related to the fact that Jesus was indeed a very influential individual. I wanted to somewhat complete the influence Jesus had.



I want to prevent this from turning into a flame war :)


No desire to start one nor see one :-) Just completeness. :-)


 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 24
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Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 6:12:34 PM

I did not criticize his choice of Jesus. I felt it was important to show his contribution wasn't simply limited to the statement

Still, no need to make snide remarks. After all, Jesus himself didn't start any crusades or torture anybody, and if a person chooses Jesus as their model for the west then so be it.

A lot of this has to do with personal preference and values. Christianity is clearly associated with the west so if you are religious then Jesus has to rank high in the list. For those who embrace secularism, the Greeks naturally come to mind (as Wiki states, Greek civilization is widely considered by academics to be the cradle of western civilization, affecting everything from our laws to science and technology).
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 25
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 6:20:00 PM



.... if a person chooses Jesus as their model for the west then so be it.


Absolutely.



His presence and afterlife appearances relentlessly changed the mindset from an eye for an eye with the idea of forgiveness and love.


But the above quote isn't about choosing Jesus as their model for the west. The above is preaching, and it cherry picks what is being preached. If someone is going to choose to preach instead of staying on topic, then everything that got preached should be included, not just what's "convenient".

What I stated wasn't a snide remark, it was other influences in addition to those he mentioned. Those were at least as influential as the ones he chose to mention.

If you feel that I have a problem with the one sidedness of the quote, you are correct. I am of the opinion that Jesus was very influential but, his influence was certainly not limited to the "good" and that should _not_ be left out.

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