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TheCriteriaofProgressiveandReactionaryTendenciesinHistory

By:
Prof.H.Dooyeweerd

TheCriteriaofProgressiveandReactionaryTendenciesinHistory
By
H.Dooyeweerd

ThecommemorationofthejubileeofonehundredandfiftyyearsoftheRoyalDutchAcademy
ofSciencesandHumanitiesgivesoccasionforhistoricalreflection.Itwillnotbeamatterforsurprise,
therefore,thatinconsideringthequestionastowhichgeneralsubjectmightbebestsuitedtothis
commemorationIhavechosenafundamentalproblemofthephilosophyofhistory,theproblem,
namely,whetherwemaypointtoobjectivecriteriawherebyitwillbepossibletodistinguishbetweenso
calledreactionaryorretrogradetendenciesinhistory.

Intheconflictofpoliticstheoppositetermsprogressiveandreactionaryareoftenusedina
demagogicalsense.Inearlierdaystheliberalpartieslaidclaimtothedesignationprogressist.Lateron
thesocialistpartiesdidthesame.Nowadaysthetotalitarianpartiesdemandtheexclusiverighttocall
themselvesprogressistincontrasttoalltheothersthatrejecttheirideology.Butitstandstoreason
thattheselatterdonotacceptthedesignationreactionary.They,too,ingeneralstresstheprogressive
characteroftheirpoliticalprograms,atleastinsofarastheyhavenotabandonedthebeliefinprogress
initspoliticohistoricalsense.Thissituationtestifiestodifferentviewsofthesocalleddemandsof
historicaldevelopment.Yetitisunquestionablethatinbothcasesreallyhistoricalstandardsornormsof
historicaldevelopmentareatissue.Cansuchstandardshaveanobjectivebasisintheinnernatureof
historyitself,oraretheynothingmorethanunverifiablemeasuresofamerelysubjectiveappreciation
ofthecourseofahistoricalprocess?ItistothisquestionthatIshalldevotesomeobservationsthis
morning.

Itwillbeevidentthatitisnotonlytothepolitician,whoseeksfromastudyofthecourseof
historytounderstandthedemandsofthepresentandthenearfuture,thatthisquestionisimportant.
Thehistoricalprocessmovesinthehistoricalaspectoftime,inwhichpast,present,andfutureare
unbreakablyinterwovenwithoneanother.Thehistorian,whosescientificattentionisdirectedtothe
past,isequallyconfrontedwiththeproblemastowhetherobjectivecriteriaforadistinctionbetween
progressiveandregressivetendenciesinhistorymaybediscovered,Andhere,too,thisdistinctionis
doubtlessofanormativecharacter,sincethequestionatissueiswhetherthereexistsnormsof
historicaldevelopmentofaverifiablevaliditybywhichthefactualcourseofhistoricaleventsmaybe
tested,ForthisveryreasonthewellknownNeoKantianphilosopherHeinrichRickert,whohaspaid
muchattentiontotheepistemologicalfoundationsofculturalscienceasdistinctfromthoseofnatural
science,deniedtothescienceofhistoryanyjudgmentconcerningprogressiveandretrograde
tendenciesintheprogressofhistoricaldevelopment.Inhisopinionsuchaxiologicaljudgmentsexceed
theboundsofboththescienceandthephilosophyofhistoryandshouldbereservedforpersonalworld
andlifeviewsonly.Thequestionwhethersuchaneliminationofallnormativeviewpointsfroma
scientifichistoriographyandphilosophyofhistoryispossiblemaybeleftasideforthemoment.

Provisionally,itwillbesufficienttoestablishthatthenormativecontrastbetweenprogressandregress
orreactioniscloselyconnectedwiththefundamentalnotionofhistoricaldevelopment.

Thereishardlyroomfordoubtthatitisthisverynotionwhichenablesthehistoriantodiscover
innercoherencesinthetemporalsuccessionofhistoricalfactsandchanges.Ifthisnotionweretobe
eliminated,as,fromapositivisticviewpoint,J.H.Kirchmannadvocatedlastcentury,nosyntheticinsight
intoaprocessofhistorywouldbepossibleandhistoricgraphywoulddegenerateintoacollectionof
mixedreportsfromthepast.

Butthefundamentalconceptofdevelopmentorevolutionparticipatesinthegeneralcondition
ofallfundamentalconceptsofthedifferentbranchesofscience:itisinitselfofananalogicalormulti
vocalcharacter,withtheresultthatitisalsousedinothersciences,thoughinadifferentmodalsense.
InalecturepreviouslydeliveredinthesectionofhumanitiesoftheAcademyIdrewspecialattentionto
thisremarkablefact.Itappearstobegroundedinthestructureofthetemporalhorizonofhuman
experienceandmorepreciselyinthatofthedifferentfundamentalmodalaspectsofthisexperiential
horizonwhichinprincipledelimitthedifferentviewpointsfromwhichempiricalrealitymaybe
approachedbythedifferentspecialbranchesofscience.Thehistoricalaspectisonlyoneofthese
fundamentalmodesofexperience,whichinthemselvesdonotrefertotheconcretewhat,thatis,the
concretethingsoreventsoftemporalreality,butrathertothemodalhow,thatis,themannerinwhich
theyareexperiencedintheirdifferentaspects.

Thesefundamentalmodalaspectsoftemporalhumanexperiencearearrangedinanirreversible
temporalorderwhichexpressesitselfinthemodalstructureofeachofthem.Thisstructuredetermines
theirmodalmeaning.Intracingthismodalmeaningweareconfrontedwithanuclearmomentwhich
guaranteestheirreduciblecharacteroftheaspectconcerned.Butthekernelofthismodalmeaningis
abletorevealitselfonlyinanunbreakablecoherencewithotherstructuralmomentsreferringbackward
orforwardrespectivelytoallothermodalaspectswhicharearrangedeitherearlierorlaterinthe
temporalsequence.Sincethesenonnuclearmomentsinthemodalstructureofanaspectgive
expressiontotheuniversalintermodalcoherenceofthemeaningofourexperientialhorizon,theyare
inthemselvesofananalogicalormultivocalcharacter.Itisonlytheirreduciblemodalkernelofthe
aspectinwhichtheyoccurthatcangivethemaunivocalsense.

Ifweapplythisinsighttothehistoricalaspectofourexperientialhorizon,itmustbe
established,firstly,thatthismodeofexperienceisnottobeidentifiedwithwhathasreallyhappenedin
thepast.Concreteevents,eventhosewhichinatypicalsensearecalledhistoricalfacts,functionin
principleinallexperientialaspects.Theirhistoricalaspectcanonlybeaparticularmodeofexperiencing
them.Secondly,itmustbeclearthatinspeakingofhistoricaldevelopmentwerefertoananalogical
momentofmeaningwhosemodalsenseisdeterminedbythenuclearmomentofthisaspect.Butwhat,
then,isthemodalnucleusofthehistoricalmodeofexperience?

Hereweareconfrontedwithafundamentalquestionwhichiseliminatedinprincipleinthe
currentepistemologicalviewsofthenatureofscientifichistoriography.Thisisexplainedbythefactthat
inmodernWesternthoughtthehistoricalmodeofexperienceisnolongerviewedasaspecificmodal

aspectofempiricalreality,butmuchratherasidenticalwiththisreality,oratleastwiththeempirical
realityofhumansociety.ThisviewhasfoundexpressionbothinDeBonaldsstatement:Larealiteest
danslhistoireandinVonRankesconceptionofthetaskofscientifichistoriographyasadescriptionof
wieeseigentlichgewesenist.Itimpliesthatallnormativeaspectsofthelifeofhumansociety,those,
namely,ofsocialintercourse,language,economicadministrationofscarcegoods,aesthetic
appreciation,law,morality,andfaith,arehistoricized.Inotherwords,weareconfrontedwitha
historicistviewoftemporalreality,originationfromanabsolutizationofthehistoricalaspectof
experience.Inasimilarwaytheabsolutizationofthephysicochemicalaspectofenergy,orofthebiotic
aspect,orthepsychicalaspectofemotionalfeelingandsensationhavegivenrisetoanenergetistic,a
vitalistic,orapsychologisticviewofreality.

Itshouldberealizedthatthishistoricistviewoftheworldwasoriginallyprojectedinwhatwas
reallyadialecticaloppositiontothenaturalisticpictureofrealitywhichissuedfromanoverstrainingof
themathematicalnaturalscientificviewpointofclassicalphysics.Boththisnaturalisticandthis
historicistviewofrealityhadtheircommonoriginintheCopernicanrevolutionofphilosophicalthought
initiatedbyDescartes.Bothresultedfromamethodicaldemolitionofthegivenstructuralorderof
humanexperiencegroundedinthedivineorderofcreation.Themodernideaoftheautonomous
freedomofhumanpersonalityasconcernsbothitsthoughtanditsactivitywasincompatiblewiththe
acceptanceofanygivenstructuralorder;foragivenorderofcreationmeanstheonomy.TheCartesian
turningtothesubjectivecogitoastheultimategroundofcertaintywasentirelyinkeepingwiththe
religiousbasicmotiveoftheHumanismwhicharoseatthetimeoftheRenaissance.Itwasrootedinthe
motiveofnatureandfreedom,asithasbeenstyledsinceImmanuelKant.

AsasecularizationoftheChristianconceptionofhumanliberty,thehumanisticfreedommotive
wasquitedifferentfromtheclassicalGreekideaoftheautonomyofhumanreason.Itimpliedthe
ascriptiontothehumanmindofacreativepowertoprojectaworldafteritsownimageandtohave
completecontrolofitsownfuture.Itelevatedthehumanpersonalitytoanabsoluteendinitself,which
impliedaradicalreversalofthebiblicalviewoftherelationbetweenGodandthehumanegocreated
afterGodsimage.Itevokedalsoanewconceptofnatureasthemacrocosmiccounterpartofthe
emancipatednature(NaturesiveDeus).TheFaustianstrivingafteracompletedominationofnature
requiredastrictlydeterministicpictureofnaturalrealityenvisagedasanuninterruptedchainof
functionalcausalrelationswhichcouldbeformulatedinmathematicalequations.Thenew
mathematicalphysicsfoundedbyGalileoandNewtonprovidedthescientificmethodwherebyto
reconstructtheworldtheoreticallyinkeepingwiththisFaustianmotiveofdomination.Butnature,asan
objectivereflectionofthismotiveofdomination,leftnoroomforthefreedomofhumanactivity.

Thusthereligiousbasicmotiveofnatureandfreedomdisplayed,astheultimatehidden
startingpointofmodernHumanisticthought,adialecticaltensionbetweentwooppositemotives.It
involvedmodernphilosophyinadialecticalprocessinwhichprimacywasascribedalternatelytooneof
thesecompetingmotives,withtheeffectthattheotherwasdepreciated.

WhereasundertheprimacyofthemathematicalscienceidealCartesianphilosophydeveloped
inanantihistoricaldirection,theItalianthinkerG.B.Vicowasthefirsttoopposetothismathematical

patternofthoughthisnuovoscienze,thescienceofthehistoryofmankind,whichinanunclearway
wascalledbyhimphilology.Butthisnewsciencewasnotatalldelimitedwithrespecttoitsspecific
modalviewpointinsuchawaythattheabsolutizationofthehistoricalaspectofourexperientialhorizon
wasavoided.Itstarted,rather,fromtheHumanisticmotiveofacreativefreedomoftheautonomous
humanmindwhichinprincipleseekstobreakthroughthegivenstructuralboundsofthemodalaspects
ofempiricalreality.Vicosfundamentalthesisisthatourcivilworldisdoubtlesscreatedbymeninthe
processofhistory,sothatitsprinciplesmustbesoughtinthehumanmind.Thusthescienceofhistoryis
conceivedasthescienceofthetemporalgenesisofmankind,whichhascreateditselfinthewholeofits
culturalexistenceandthereforeknowsitselffromthewholeinheritanceofitsculture,withtheresult
thatinthissciencesubjectandobjectareidentical.

Butthetemporalgenesisofmankindcannotbeaspecificscientificviewpoint,sinceinprinciple
itfunctionsinallofthemodalaspectsofourexperientialhorizon.Itisarealprocessoccurringinthefull
continuouscoherenceoftimeandnotmerelyinaspecifichistoricalaspectofthelatter.Thereforeitis
ofnoavailtosaythatthehistoricalviewpointisthegeneticviewpointwithoutindicatingthemodal
senseofthislatter.Thephysicchemicalorthebioticaspectofthisgeneticprocessisdoubtlessno
concernofhistoricalresearchinitspropersense.Vico,infact,didnotincludetheseaspectsinthefield
ofhisnowscience.Startingfromthebasicmotiveofnatureandfreedomheestablished(witha
particularemphasisdirectedagainsttheCartesianscienceideal)thatnaturehasnotbeencreatedby
man,butonlyhisculture.Consequentlythehistoryofmankindisrestrictedtothewholeofmankinds
culturalactivityanditsresults.SincethetimeofVicothishasbecometheprevailingview;fortheearlier
restrictionofhistoriographypropertopoliticalhistory,oreventothatofwarsandbattles,isquite
arbitraryandinadequate.Ontheotherhand,itismeaninglesstoopposethelattertoculturalhistory
sinceapartfromhumanculturetherecanbeneitherpeacefulpoliticallifenorhumanwarsandbattles.

Butisculturetobeviewedasaconcrete,everchangingtemporalrealityofaspecifickind,oris
itonlyanirreduciblemodalaspectoftemporalreality?AccordingtoVico,itisthehistoricalrealization
ofeternalideasinthesociallifeofthenations,theproductoftheircollectivemindorconsciousness,
thecivilworld,ashecallsit.Itembracestheircustoms,theirlaw,theirlanguage,theirfinearts,their
economicrelations,theirreligion,theirscientificlife,theirsocialinstitutions.

Hereweareconfrontedwiththesourceofmodernhistoricism;forifhistoryinitspropersense
isthehistoryofhumancultureandcultureitselfisahistoricalrealityembracingallthenormative
aspectsoftemporalhumanlife,itfollowsthatallournormsandvaluesandalloursocialinstitutionsare
nothingbutthehistoricalproductsofaspecificculturalmindinaparticularphaseofitsdevelopment.

ThisradicalhistoricismisthedialecticaloppositeoftheaprioriHumanisticdoctrineofnatural
lawdeveloped,moregeometrico,undertheprimacyofthemathematicalscienceideal.InVicothis
oppositionwasunableasyettorevealitselfasanexclusivealternativesincehishistoricistviewof
temporalhumanlifewascheckedandbalancebyhisbeliefineternalideas,whicharerealizedinthe
historyofmankindwiththeinnernecessityofadivineProvidence.ItisthesameProvidencewhich,in
hisopinion,alsoguidesthecycliccourseofhistoryinitsprogressiveandregressivemovements,its
corsiandrecorsi.Thismeans,withregardtotheprovinceoflawinhumansociety,thatallpositive

lawisnothingotherthanapositivizationoftheeternalprinciplesofnaturallaw,whichinconsequence
areembodiedinhistoricalreality.Thiscomponentofnaturallawis,accordingtohim,themomentof
rationaltruthinanylegalorder.Themomentofculturalpositivizationisthatofcertitudeand
correspondstothemomentofpowerinhistory.

Thislatterview,thattheculturalactivityofmanisanunfoldingofpower,isofextreme
importanceinVicostheory,thoughitisexplainedbyhimonlyinpassing;foritwillbeseenthatit
providesthecluetothesolutionofourpreviousquestion,namely:whatisthenuclearmomentofthe
historicalmodeofexperience?Asatisfactoryanswertothisquestionistantamounttoafundamental
overthrowofthehistoricistworldview;thoughthisissomethingwhichVicohimselfcouldnotachieve,
sinceahistoricistviewoftemporalrealitycannotberenderedharmlessbyabeliefineternalideas,
Supratemporalrealitycannotberenderedharmlessbyabeliefineternalideas.Supratemporalideasof
justice,beauty,goodness,andsoon,arenothingbutametaphysicalabsolutizationofnormativemodal
aspectsofourtemporalorderofexperience,whosedifferencesofmeaningcanexistonlyintheorderof
time.Foritisthisorderoftimewhichbreakstheradicalreligiousunityofallmeaningintoasuccessive
pluralityofmodes.Historicismhasaninnertendencytoemancipateitselffromanybeliefineternal
ideas;forhumanbeliefisalsoincludedinthetemporalhorizonofhumanconsciousnessandhistoricism
identifiestruetimewithhistoricaltime.Ifbeliefbelongstohumanculture,thenthesocalledeternal
ideascanonlybetheideologicalcomponentofaculturalinametaphysicalphaseofitshistorical
development;andaccordinglytheycanhaveonlyahistoricalsignificance.

Historicisminitsconsistentformmeansthehistoricizingofourentiretemporalhorizonof
experienceandofthecentralreligiousreferencepointoftheexperientialhorizonnamely,thehumanI
nessinitsrelationtootheregosandtotheDivineAuthorofallcreation.

Theabsolutizationofthehistoricalaspectbeginswiththeeliminationofitsmodalstructureby
whichitsgeneralmeaningisdeterminedandrestricted.Thisstructurecannotbechangeableintime,
sinceitistheconditionwhichalonemakesthehistoricalmodeofexperiencepossible.Consequentlyit
cannotbeidentifiedwithavariablehistoricalphenomenonpresentingitselfinthisexperientialmode.

Weareseekingfortheirreduciblenuclearmomentofthisstructure.Theetymological
derivationofthetermhistorydoesnothelpusinoursearch.ThewordisofGreekoriginandinitially
hadtheneutralsenseofinvestigation.Thequalifyingnuclearmomentoftheparticularexperiential
modewhichdeterminestheviewpointofhistoricalscienceproperismuchmorelikelytobediscovered
throughanepistemologicalanalysisoftheconceptofculture,forwehaveseenthatthenotionsof
becominganddevelopment,withtheaidofwhichitwasattemptedtodelimitthisspecifichistorical
viewpoint,areinthemselvesmultivocal.Inthelastinstance,itisonlytheculturalmodeof
developmentthatcangivetheanalogicalconceptofdevelopmentitshistoricalsense.Itisforthis
reasonthatallgnoseologicalinvestigationsconcerningthespecifichistoricalviewpointwerecentered
onthefundamentalsignificanceoftheconceptofcultureforthehistoricalmodeofthought.

Wehavealsoseenthathistoricismviewedthewholeofhumansocietyinallitsnormative
aspectsasahistoricculturalproduct.Consequentlytheabsolutizationofthehistoricalaspectof

experiencemustbecloselyconnectedwiththeabsolutizationoftheconceptofculture.Theuseofthe
nounculturemayeasilygiverisetotheerroneousopinionthathereaparticularkindofrealityis
meant,aconcretewhat.Everyabsolutizationofaspecificexperientialaspectbeginswithan
identificationofthisaspectwiththeconcreterealitywhichhasonlyamodalfunctioninit.Butwhat
cannotexistisaparticularkindofrealitywhichisentirelyculturalincharacter.Letus,therefore,replace
thenounculturebytheadjectiveculturalinordertoemphasizethatitisonlyamodalaspectof
empiricalrealitythatismeant.Takeninthismodalsense,thetermculturalmeansnothingmorethan
aparticularmannerofformationwhichisfundamentallydistinctfromallmodesofformationfoundin
nature.Itisacontrollingmodewherebyformisgiventoamaterialinaccordancewithafreely
elaboratedproject.

Aspiderspinsitswebwithfaultlessprecision;butitdoessoafterafixedanduniformpattern,
prescribedbytheinstinctofthespecies.Itlacksfreecontroloverthematerialwithwhichitworks.But
theculturalmodeofformationmustreceiveitsspecificmodalqualificationthroughfreedomofcontrol,
domination,orpower.Thisiswhythegreatculturalcommandmentgiventomanafterthecreationof
theworldreads:Subduetheearthandhavedominionoverit.Andifthegenuinehistoricalviewpoint
ofhistoriographyisthatofculturaldevelopment,itfollowsthatformativepowerorcontrolmustalsobe
thenuclearmomentofthehistoricalaspectwhichgivestheanalogicalconceptofdevelopmentits
properhistoricalsense.

Theculturalmodeofformationrevealsitselfintwodirectionswhicharecloselyconnectedwith
eachother.Ontheonehand,itisaformativepoweroverpersonsunfoldingitselfbygivingculturalform
totheirsocialexistence;ontheother,itappearsasacontrollingmannerofshapingnaturalthingsor
materialstoculturalends.

TheGermansspeakofPersonkulturandSachkultur.Sinceallculturalphenomenaarebound
tohumansocietyinitshistoricalaspect,thedevelopmentofSachkulturisinprincipledependentonthat
ofPersonkultur;forSachkulturcandeveloponlyinahistoricalsubjectobjectrelationshipandonly
humanpersonsintheirsocialrelationscanfunctionassubjectsintheculturalprocessofhistory.In
addition,bothPersonkulturandSachkulturpresupposetheleadingideasofaprojectwhichleading
figuresorgroupsinhistoryseektorealizeinahumancommunity.Itisforthisreasonthattheformative
poweroftheseleadingfiguresorgroupsalwaysbearsarelationshipofintentiontosuchideas.These
ideascannotberealizedaccordingtothemerelysubjectiveconceptionofthosewhopropagatethem.
Theymustassumeasocioculturalformsothattheythemselvesmaybeabletoexerciseformative
powerintherelationshipsofsociety.BywayofillustrationImayrefertotheculturalinfluenceofthe
ideasofnaturallawandtheRomaniusgentium,ortotheinfluenceofthetechnicalideasofgreat
inventors,ortheaestheticideasofgreatartists,orthereligiousideasofthepreachersofanewbelief.
Suchideasarenotofaculturalhistoricalcharacterinthemselves;buttheyacquireahistorical
significanceassoonastheybegintoexerciseformativepowerinhumansociety.Theycanberealized
onlyintypicalsocialstructuresofindividualitywhichinprinciplefunctioninallaspectsofour
experientialhorizon.Theempiricalrealityofhumansociallifecan,therefore,neverbeexhaustedinits
culturalhistoricalaspect.Allthatisrealorthatreallyhappensinhumansocietyismorethanmerely
historical.


Havingestablishedinthiswaythemodalnuclearmomentofthehistoricalaspectofexperience,
wemaynowturntotheanalogicalconceptofhistoricaldevelopment.Thequestionweaskedwas
whetherthenormativecontrastbetweenprogressiveandregressivetendenciesintheprocessof
historicaldevelopmentmaybegroundedinthemodalstructureofthehistoricalaspectofexperience.
Toanswerthisquestionitisnecessarytoexaminesomewhatmorefullytheanalogicalmomentsof
meaningofthisstructure.

Themomentofdevelopmentinhistoryrefersbackbeyonddoubttothatkindofdevelopment
whichwefindinthebioticaspectofexperience.Butitdoesnotdosodirectly.Theculturalhistorical
aspectisimmediatelygroundedinthelogicalaspect,thatis,theaspectofanalyticaldistinction.Rickert
assumedthatthehistoricalmodeofexperienceisconstitutedbyalogicalcategoryofculturebymeans
ofwhich,inanindividualizingmanner,naturalrealityinspaceandtimewouldberelatedtoasupra
temporalrealmofvalues.Thiscannotberight.Cultureisnotalogicalmodeofexperience.Withoutthe
logicalfoundationoftheanalyticalmodeofdistinction,however,thehistoricalmodeofexperience
wouldbeimpossible.Andthisconnectionbetweenthelogicalandhistoricalaspectsfindsexpression,in
themodalstructureofthelatter,inanalogiesofthefundamentallogicalrelationsofidentity,diversity,
implication,andcontradiction.Ishallreferonlytotheanalogyofthelogicalrelationofcontradictionin
thehistoricalodeofexperience.Alogicalcontradictiontakesplacewhenanargumentcontainstwo
contradictorypropositions.Suchreasoningiscalledillogical,incontrasttoalogicalsequenceofthought.
Thiscontrastisofanormativecharactersinceanillogicalargumentviolatesafundamentalnormof
logicalthought.

Nowitisindisputablethatinallaspectsofexperiencewhicharegroundedinthelogicalan
analogyofthisnormativelogicalcontrastisfound.Thisisastrongindicationofthenormativecharacter
ofthesecontrasts,whichmeansthatwithintheseexperientialmodeshumanbehaviorisnotsubjectto
lawsofnaturebuttonorms.Irefertothecontrastsbetweenpoliteandimpolitedecentandindecent,
andsoon,whichfunctionintheaspectofhumansocialintercourse;tothecontrastbetween
linguisticallyrightandwrong,whichfunctionswithinthelinguisticaspect;tothecontrastsbetween
aestheticandunaesthetic,lawfulandunlawful,moralandimmoral,believingandunbelieving,which
functionrespectivelyintheaesthetic,juridical,andmoralaspects,andintheaspectoffaith,ofour
experientialhorizon.

Thecontrast,then,betweenprogressiveandreactionarymovementsintheprocessofhistorical
developmentisclearlyananalogyofthelogicalrelationofcontradiction.Itmustbegroundedinthe
innerstructureofthehistoricalaspect,sincethisaspectisalsofoundedonthelogical.Ifitmakessense
tospeakofthedemandsofhistoricaldevelopmentandonlythosewhoareprejudicedbythedogma
thateventhesocalledculturalsciencesshouldrefrainfromanynormativejudgmentrefusetodoso
thenthedistinctionbetweenprogressiveandregressivetendenciescannotbetheresultofamerely
subjectiveevaluation.

Nobodywhothinksreallyhistoricallywilldenythatfromapoliticohistoricalviewpointtheso
calledcounterrevolutionarymovementinthefirsthalfofthenineteenthcentury,whichstrovefora
restorationofthemedievalGermanicfeudalregimewithitsundifferentiatedpatrimonialconceptionof

politicalauthority,wasofareactionarycharacter.Thisjudgmentwillbeindependentofthequestion
whetherornottheecclesiasticallyunifiedcultureoftheMiddleAgesisadmired,andwhetherornotthe
memoryofthosetimesisrecalledwithakindofromanticdesire.Butonwhatobjectivenormof
historicaldevelopmentmaythisjudgmentbefounded?

TheGermanhistoricalschoolofjurisprudence,whosephilosophicalconceptionofhistorywas
stronglyinfluencedbyHerderandSchelling,haslaidparticularstressontheorganiccharacterofany
truehistoricaldevelopment.Takingthenaturaldevelopmentofalivingorganismasapattern,V.
Savignyandhisfollowerssupposedthateverynationbringsforthitsculturefromitswonindividual
folkmindinaprocessoforganiccontinuityconnectingthepresentandfuturewiththepast.Butin
thehistoricaltraditionofapeopletheydistinguishedbothlivinganddeadelements.Theformerareto
beutilizedinfurtherdevelopment,butthelattershouldbesloughedoff.Aslongasanationalmindis
reallyproductiveitsculture,includingitspoliticalandlegalinstitutions,istheresultofnaturalgrowth
andnottheartificialandmechanicalproductofarationalisticallymindedepoch.Itisevidentthatinthis
viewthebioticanalogyinhistoricaldevelopmentisstronglystressed.Nevertheless,therecanbeno
questionhereofanaturalisticmisinterpretationofculturalevolution;forthisisexcludedbythefact
thatinitsphilosophicalbackgroundthisorganicviewofhistoryoriginatedinthepostKantianGerman
freedomidealism.

InlinewithSchelling,V.Savignyregardedhistoryasadialecticalsynthesisofautonomous
freedomandnaturalnecessity.Thelatter,however,wasnotenvisagedasamechanicalcausality
governedbygeneralnaturallaws.AfterKantthehumanisticbasicmotiveofnatureandfreedom
underwentanirrationalisticturn.Therationalisticconceptioneliminatedallindividualityfromitsworld
viewbyreducingallindividualphenomenatogenerallaws.Theirrationalisticconception,ontheother
hand,startedfromtheirreducibleindividualityofanyrealwholeanddenieditssubjectiontogeneral
rules.Thehistoricalschoolrejectedtherationalisticnaturallawviewofhumansocietywithitsgenerala
prioripatternsoflawandstate,whichitthoughttobeapplicabletoanypeopleandanyage.

Everynationbringsforthitsownlawandpoliticalconstitutionfromthefullindividualityofits
collectivemind.Itdoessoinautonomousfreedomintheprocessofhistoricaldevelopmentandinan
individualway.Historylacksgenerallaws.Thereis,nevertheless,ahiddenlawofprovidence(or
Schicksalinamorepaganversion)whichdirectsthisprocessinsuchawaythatitalsoshowsaninner
naturalnecessityelevatedaboveallhumanarbitrariness.Thishiddenlawofthehistoricalprocess,
alreadytobefoundinFichtersphilosophyofhistory,couldnotfailtoassumeanirrationalitynormative
sense.AnditwastheLutheranlegalphilosopherandstatesmanFr.JuliusStahlwhoopenlyacceptedthis
consequence.Inhisopinionallthathascomeaboutinalongprocessofhistoricaldevelopment,under
theinfluenceofincalculableandinscrutableforces,withouttheinterferenceofrationalhuman
planning,oughttoberespectedasamanifestationofGodsguidanceinhistory,insofarasitdoesnot
contradictGodsrevealedcommandments.

ThisconceptionofGodsguidanceinhistorywasquiteinlinewiththeconservativemindofthe
Restoration.Apartfromitsromanicquietisticformulation,ithadagreatinfluenceonthesocalled

Christianhistoricaltheoryofthenineteenthcentury.Thelatteracceptedthenewhistoricalmodeof
thinkingasapowerfulallyintheconflictwiththeprinciplesoftheFrenchrevolution.

MeanwhilethisascriptionofanormativesensetoGodsguidanceinhistorywasopentoserious
objections.Theseobjectionswereamplysetforthinaremarkablethisisdefendedin1911atthe
UniversityofLeydenbyA.C.Leendertz.FromthetheologicalviewpointthisauthorarguedthatGods
guidanceembracesallthathappens,bothgoodandevil.ForthisreasonthisguidancepertainstoGods
hiddencounselandcannotimplyanynormforhumanbehavior.Fromthephilosophicalviewpoint
LeendertzattackedthenormativeconceptionofGodsguidanceinhistorywiththeKantianargument
thatempiricalfactsandnormsbeingtodifferentworlds.Ifthefactualcourseofhistoryiselevatedtoa
normthisistantamounttoacontinuousacceptanceofthefaitaccompli.Ifagoverningdynastyis
supposedtobejustifiedbythefactthatithadmaintaineditspoweroveralongperiodoftime,thena
revolutionoverthrowingthisdynastyisalsojustifiedafterthelapseoftimebyasuccessfulmaintenance
ofitsposition.

ThisphilosophicalcritiquemustfailinasmuchasitstartedfromtheKantianseparationbetween
empiricalfactsandnorms,whichisadualism,groundedinthedialecticalhumanisticmotiveofnature
andfreedominitscriticalconception.Itoverlookedtheconsiderationthathistoricalfactsarenotgiven
inthesamewayasnaturaleventsandthatinthenormativeaspectsofhumanexperiencenosinglefact
canbeestablishedwithoutmakinguseofanorm.Itcouldnotdojusticetotheviewofthehistorical
schoolsincethatlatterdidnotmeantoelevateanymerelyfactualcourseofeventstothelevelofa
historicalnorm.Theconceptoforganichistoricaldevelopmentcannothaveamerelyfactualcontent
apartfromanormativecriterionwherebytoestablishwhatisandwhatisnotinkeepingwithit.
Savignysdistinctionbetweenlivinganddeadcomponentsinthehistoricaltraditionimpliedarejection
ofanyfactualattempttorevivethatwhichhaslostitshistoricalsignificanceintheorganicdevelopment
ofculture.Itimplied,inotherwords,adistinctionbetweenprogressiveandregressivemovementsin
history.Thusitwasmanifestlybasedonanormativecriterion.

Butwhatwasthiscriterion?Intheultimateissueitwasderivedfromtheindividualityofthe
nationalmind,viewedasthetruesourceofnationalcultureandasagiftofDivineProvidencehaving
valueinitself.Itwassupposedthatorganiccontinuityinculturaldevelopmentwasguaranteedonlyby
thedirectivepotencyoftheVolksgeistwhichoperatesinconformitywiththehiddenlawof
Providence.Thisirrationalisticviewofthenormofhistoricalevolutioncanleadtoverydangerous
consequences,especiallyifitisaccompaniedbyahistoricistviewofthenormsoflaw,morality,and
faith.TheNazimovementinGermanywasonlytooreadytowelcometheseconsequences,aswas
apparentfromHitlersassertionthatDivineProvidencehaddestinedtheGermanpeopletobeanation
ofrulers.

Thesubjectiveindividualityofanationalcharactercanneverbeaculturalnorminitself.Itwill
alwaysshowbothgoodandbadtraits,apartfromthefactthatitisverydifficulttoestablishthe
characteristictraitsofaparticularnationasawhole.AndeventhoughitisconsideredagiftofGod,itis
certainlynotleftunaffectedbysin.


Ifitbeaskedwhetherthehistoricalschoolhasnotatleastprovideduswithaclearcriterion
wherebywemaydistinguishbetweenprogressiveandreactionarytendenciesintheculturalprocess,
theanswermustbeinthenegative.Thereasonisthatitsconceptionofhistoricaldevelopmentclings
exclusivelytobioticanalogiesinthemodalstructureofthehistoricalaspect.Sincethisaspectis
definitelygroundedinthatoforganiclife,thesebioticanalogiescannotfailtorevealthemselvesinthe
modalsenseofthehistoricalideaofdevelopment.Culturalmovementandevolutionareinherentin
culturallife,andconsequentlyV.Savignysdistinctionbetweenlivinganddeadelementsinthehistorical
traditionofanationiswellfounded.Thehistoricalsenseofthisdistinctionisqualifiedbythenuclear
momentofthehistoricoculturalmodeofexperience.Livingelementsarethosewhichhaveasyet
formativepowerinahumancommunity,whereasdeadelementsarethosewhichhavedefinitelylost
thispower,andhaveforthefutureonlyafolkloristicormerelytheoreticalhistoricalimportance.

Butthesebioticanalogiesareofaretrospectivecharacter.Theyreferbackwardsinorderof
timetoanearlieraspectofourexperientialhorizonwhichlacksanormativecharacter.Developmentin
themodalsenseoforganiclife,whichisgroundedinphysicchemicalprocesses,isnotruledbynorms,
butbybioticlawsofnature.Inthebioticaspectoftimethedevelopmentofamulticellularliving
organismdisplaysonlythenaturalphasesofbirth,ripening,adolescence,age,anddecline.Butin
historicaldevelopmentanormativehumanvocationrevealsitself,aculturaltaskcommittedtomanat
thecreation.Thistaskcannotbefulfilledexceptintheanticipatorydirectionoftime,inwhichthe
historicoculturalaspectofthetemporalorderdependsitsmodalmeaningbyunfoldingitsanticipatory
momentsinreferringforwardstoposthistoricalaspects.

Thereforethenuclearmomentoftheculturalmodeofdevelopment,namely,formativepower,
itselfhasanormativesense,sinceitimpliesanormativeculturalvocation,asisapparentfromthedivine
culturalcommandtosubduetheearth.Eventhemostterriblemisuseofpowerinoursinfulworld
cannotmakepoweritselfsinful,norcanitdetractfromthenormativesenseofmansculturalvocation.

Untiltheculturalaspectofahumancommunitydisclosestheanticipatorymomentsofits
meaning,itshowsitselftobeinarigidandprimitivecondition.Thesameholdsgoodforthose
normativeaspectswhicharegroundedinthecultural,namely,thelinguisticaspectofsymbolic
signification,theaspectofsocialintercourse,theeconomic,aesthetic,juridical,andmoralaspects,and
theaspectoffaith.Primitiveculturesareenclosedinsmallandundifferentiatedcommunitieswhich
displayastrongtendencytowardsisolation.Aslongassuchprimitivecommunitiesmaintaintheir
isolationinhistorytherecanbenoquestionfculturaldevelopmentinthesenseinwhichitistakenin
historiographyproper.

Theydisplayatotalitarianaspect,sincetheyincludetheirmembersinallthespheresoftheir
personallife,andthetemporalexistenceoftheindividualiscompletelydependentonmembershipof
thefamilyorsibrespectivelyandofthetribalcommunity.Thereisnotyetroomforadifferentiationof
cultureintheparticularspheresofformativepower,those,namely,ofscience,thefinearts,commerce
andindustry,politics,religion,andsoon.Sincesuchundifferentiatedcommunitiesfulfillallthetasksfor
which,onahigherlevelofcivilization,particularorganizationsareformed,thereisonlyonesingle
undifferentiatedculturalsphere.Arigidtradition,deifiedbyapaganbelief,andanxiouslyguardedby

theleadersofthegroup,hasthemonopolyofformativepower.Theprocessbywhichsuchculturesare
developedshows,infact,onlybioticanalogiesofthephasesofbirth,ripening,adolescence,age,and
decline.Thedurationoftheirexistenceisdependentonthatofthesmallpopularortribalcommunities
bywhichtheyaresustained.Theymayvanishfromthescenewithoutleavinganytraceinthehistoryof
mankind.

Thesituationinthehistoricaldevelopmentofopenedupculturesisquitedifferent.Fromthe
ancientculturalcentersofworldhistory,suchasBabylon,Egypt,Palestine,Crete,Greece,Rome,
Byzantium,essentialtendenciesofdevelopmentpassedoverintomedievalandmodernWestern
civilizations.TheyfertilizedtheGermanicandArabianC=culturesandthisfertilizationhasgivenriseto
newformsofcivilization.Thisopenedupculturaldevelopmenthasbeenfreedfromrigiddependence
uponthelivingconditionsofsmallpopularortribalcommunities.Itdoesnotmovewithinthenarrow
boundsofaclosedandundifferentiatedculturalcommunity,but,likeafertilizingstream,itisalways
seekingnewchannelsalongwhichtocontinueitscourse.

Theprocesswherebyacultureisopenedupalwaysoccursinaconflictbetweentheguardians
oftraditionandthepropoundersofnewideas.Theformativepoweroftraditionisenormous,forina
concentratedformitembodiesculturaltreasuresamassedinthecourseofcenturies.Everygeneration
ishistoricallyboundtoformergenerationsbyitstradition.Wearealldominatedbyittoomuchgreater
degreethanwerealize.Inaprimitiveclosedcultureitspowerisnearlyabsolute.Inanopenedup
culturetraditionisnolongerunassailable,butithastheindispensableroleofguardingthatmeasureof
continuityintheculturaldevelopmentwithoutwhichculturallifewouldbeimpossible.

Inthestrugglewiththepoweroftraditiontheprogressiveideasofsocalledmoldersofhistory
havethemselvestobepurgedoftheirrevolutionarysubjectivityandadjustedtothemodalnormof
historicalcontinuity.EvenJacobBurckhardt,whowasstronglyaffectedbythehistoricistrelativism,held
tothisnormofcontinuityasalastguaranteeagainstthedeclineofallcivilization.Itis,ofcourse,
nothingbutanillusiontoimaginethataculturalrevolutioncandestroyallbondswiththepastand
beginwiththerevolutionaryyearone.

Theopeningupprocessofcultureischaracterizedbythedestructionoftheundifferentiated
andexclusivepowerofprimitivecommunities.Itisaprocessofculturaldifferentiationwhichis
balancedbyanincreasingculturalintegration.Itisaffectedbytheburstingoftherigidwallsofisolation
whichhaveenclosedtheprimitivecultureandbysubmittingthelattertofruitfulcontactwith
civilizationswhichhavealreadybeenopenedup.

SinceHerbertSpencerthecriterionofdifferentiationandintegrationhasbeenacceptedby
manysociologistsforthedistinctionbetweenmorehighlydevelopedandprimitivesocieties.The
processofdifferentiationwasviewedasaconsequenceofdivisionoflabor,andanattemptwasmade
toexplainitinanaturalscientificmanner.ButIdonotunderstandthetermculturaldifferentiationin
thispseudonaturalscientificsense.

MuchratherIhaveinmindadifferentiationinthetypicalstructuresofindividualityofsocial
relationships.Intheculturalhistoricalaspectoftheserelationshipsthisprocessofdifferentiationfinds

expressionintheriseofarichdiversityoftypicalculturalspheres,eachofwhichischaracterizedbya
leadingfunctionofadistinctnormativemodalitybelongingtoaposthistoricalaspectofexperience.
Differentiatedculturalspheres,suchasthoseofscience,thefinearts,commerceandindustry,politics,
religion,andsoon,canberealizedonlyonthebasisoftheopeningupprocessofhistory.Butthisdoes
notmeanthatthetypicalstructuresoftheirindividualityarethemselvesofavariablehistorical
character.Sincethesestructuresdeterminetheinnernatureofthedifferentiatedrelationshipsof
societyandtheirtypicalculturalspheres,theymustbelongtotheorderofcreationinitstemporal
diversitywhichisalsotheorderofourexperientialhorizon.Itisonlythesocialformsinwhichtheyare
realizedthatvaryintheprocessofhistoricaldevelopment.

Theirrationalistictrendinhistoricismstartedfromtheabsoluteindividualityofanysocio
culturalcommunity.Butthistrendoverlookedthetypicalstructuresofindividualitywhichdetermine
theinnertotalnatureofthesecommunitiesandwhich,assuch,cannotbeofavariablehistorical
character,Neverthelessitistruethattheprocessofculturaldifferentiationandintegrationisatthe
sametimeaprocessofincreasingindividualizationofhumanculture,insofarasitisonlyinaculture
whichhasbeenopenedupanddifferentiatedthatindividualityassumesareallyhistoricalsignificance.It
istruethatinprimitiveclosedculturalareasindividualityisnotlacking.Butinconsequenceoftherigid
dominanceoftraditionthisindividualityretainsacertaintraditionaluniformity,sothatfromgeneration
togenerationsuchclosedculturesdisplayingeneralthesameindividualfeatures.Itisforthisreason
thathistoriographyinitspropersensetakesnointerestintheseculturalindividualities.

Assoon,however,astheprocessofdifferentiationandintegrationcommencesthehistorical
taskofindividualculturaldispositionsandtalentsbecomesmanifest.Everyindividualcontributionto
theopeningupoftheculturalaspectofhumansocietyisacontributiontotheculturaldevelopmentof
mankindwhichasaworldwideperspective.Accordinglytheindividualityofculturalleadersandgroups
assumesadeepenedhistoricalsense.

Itistheopeningupprocessofhumanculturealsowhichalonecangiverisetonational
individualities.Anationviewedasasocioculturalunitshouldbesharplydistinguishedfromthe
primitiveethnicalunitywhichiscalledapopularortribalcommunity.Arealnationalculturalwholeis
notanaturalproductofbloodandsoil,buttheresultofaprocessofdifferentiationandintegrationin
theculturalformationofhumansociety.Inanationalcommunityallethnicaldifferencesbetweenthe
variousgroupsofapopulationareintegratedintoanewindividualwholewhichlacksthe
undifferentiatedtotalitariantraitsofaclosedandprimitiveunitofsociety.

Itwas,therefore,anunmistakableproofofthereactionarycharacteroftheNazimythofblood
andsoilthatittriedtounderminethenationalconsciousnessoftheGermanicpeoplesbyrevivingthe
primitiveethnicideaofVolkstum.Similarly,itisanunmistakableproofoftheretrogradetendencyof
allmoderntotalitarianpoliticalsystemsthattheyattempttoannihilatetheprocessofcultural
differentiationandindividualizationbyamethodicalmentalequalizing(Gleichschaltun)ofallcultural
spheres,therebyimplyingafundamentaldenialofthevalueoftheindividualpersonalityintheopening
upprocessofhistory.


Thecounterrevolutionarypoliticalmovementinthefirsthalfofthenineteenthcenturywhich
stroveforarestorationofthefeudalregimeinitsbroadersense,withitsundifferentiatedpatrimonial
conceptionofpoliticalauthority,wasdoubtlessalsoofareactionarycharacter.Itwishedtorestorea
politicalsystemwhichwasincompatiblewiththenationalintegrationandtheideaofthestateand
whichforthisreasonwasdoomedtodisappearassoonastheprogressivelineofpoliticohistorical
developmentthelatterwererealized,Intheopeningupprocessofhistoryanyundifferentiated
particularisminpoliticalpowerformationshouldbeovercomesinceitcontradictsthenormofpolitico
historicaldifferentiationandintegration.Thisnorm,however,isnotofamerelymodalhistorical
charactersinceitisorientedtothetypicalstructuralprincipleofthestateasarespublicawhichinits
historicalaspectimpliesamonopolisticorganizationofthepoweroftheswordserviceableinthepublic
interestofthebodypolitic.

Sincetheopeningupprocessoftheculturalhistoricalaspectoccursintheanticipatoryof
progressivedirectionofthetemporalorder,itmustbepossibletoindicatetheanticipatorymomentsin
whichthedynamiccoherenceofmeaningbetweenthisaspectandthesubsequentlyarranged
normativemodesrevealsitself.Tobeginwith,theprogressiveopeningupprocessofhistoryis
characterizedbythemanifestationofalinguisticanticipation.Thelinguisticaspectofourexperiential
horizonisthatofcommunicationbythemediumofsignswhichhaveasymbolicalmeaning.Inthe
openingupprocessofhistoricaldevelopmentfactsassumeahistoricalsignificancewhichgivesrisetoa
symbolicalsignifyingoftheirhistoricalmeaning.

HegelandVonRankeheldthathistoryproperdidnotstartbeforetheneedarosetopreserve
thememoryofhistoricaleventsbymeansofchronicles,records,andothermaterials.Thesocalled
Kulturkreislehreinethnology,whichseekstotracegeneticcontinuityintheculturallifeofmankindfrom
thesocalledprimevalculturesofprehistoryontocivilizationsatthehighestlevelofdevelopment,has
deniedthatthepresenceofmemorialscanbeofanyessentialimportanceforthedelimitationofthe
historicalfieldofresearch.AsFrobeniushassaid,historyisaction,andincomparisonwiththishow
inessentialisitssymbolicalrecording!

Thetruthis,however,thatsuchadepreciationoftheriseofhistoricalmemorialsasregards
theirsignificanceforthehistoricaldevelopmentofmankindtestifiestoalackofinsightintothemodal
structureoftheopeningupprocessofculture.Fortheriseofsuchmemorialsisanunquestionable
criterionofthehistoricalopeningupofacivilization.Itcannotbyinessentialthatinprimitivesocieties
historicalmemorials,oratleastreliableoralhistoricalinformation,arelackingandthatonly
mythologicalrepresentationsofthegenesisanddevelopmentoftheirculturearefound.Therelatively
uniformcourseoftheirprocessofdevelopmenthasnotyetgivenMnemosyneanymaterialworth
recordingasmemorableinareallyhistoricalsense.Anasyetclosedhistoricalconsciousnessclingsto
thebioticanalogiesinculturaldevelopmentandinclinestoamythologicalinterpretationofitscourse
undertheinfluenceofaprimitivereligionofnature.

Themanifestationofsymbolicalorlinguisticanticipationintheopeningupprocessofthe
historicalaspectofexperienceisindissolublylinkedtoamanifestationofculturalintercoursebetween
differentnationswhicharecaughtupinthestreamofworldhistory.Culturalintercourseinthis

internationalsenseisananticipatorymomentinhistoryreferringforwardstotheopeningupofthe
modalaspectofsocialintercoursewithitsspecificnormsofgoodbreeding,courtesy,andsoon.A
manifestationofsuchculturalintercoursemeansthatanationalcultureisopeneduptotheformative
powerofforeignculturalactivity,sothatthereisacontinuousmutualexchangeofculturallifebetween
thenations.Sincewithoutsuchafreeculturalintercoursethehistoricalopeningupprocesscannot
makeheadway,anyattemptbyatotalitarianregimetoimpedeorexcludethisfreeculturalcontact
mustbeconsideredreactionary.Thenormativecriterionlyingatthefoundationofthisjudgmentisnot
ofamerelysubjectivecharactersinceitprovestobegroundedinthemodalstructureofthehistorical
openingupprocess.Thismaybeverifiedbyobservingtheconsequencesforahighlydevelopednation
ofculturalisolation.Itisforthisreasonthatsuchreactionarymeasuresofatotalitarianregimecannot
besustainedinthelongrun.

Sincetheprocessofculturaldifferentiationleadstoanincreasingtypicaldiversityofcultural
spheres,thereisaconstantdangerthatoneofthesespheresmaytrytoexpanditsformativepowerin
anexcessivemannerattheexpenseoftheothers.Indeed,sincethedissolutionoftheecclesiastically
unifiedculturewhichprevailedinmedievalWesterncivilizationtherehasbeenarunningbattle
betweentheemancipatedculturalspherestoacquirethesupremacyovereachother.

Intheopeningupprocessofhistory,therefore,thepreservationofaharmoniousrelationship
betweenthedifferentiatedspheresofculturebecomesavitalinterestoftheentirehumansociety.But
thisculturalharmonycanbeguaranteedonlyiftheprocessofhistoricaldevelopmentcomplieswiththe
normativeprincipleofculturaleconomywhichforbidsanyexcessiveexpansionoftheformativepower
ofaparticularculturalsphereattheexpenseoftheothers.Heretheaestheticandeconomic
anticipationsinthehistoricalaspectrevealthemselvesintheirunbreakableinnercoherence.Both
principles,thatofculturaleconomyandthatofculturalharmony,appealtotheinnernatureofthe
differentiatedculturalspheresasdeterminedbythetypicalstructuresofindividualityofthecirclesof
societytowhichtheybelong.Itismyconvictionthatthesestructuresofindividualityaregroundedin
theorderofcreation,wherebydueboundsareassignedtoeverytemporalentityinaccordancewithits
innernature.Intheopeningupprocessofhumanculture,assoonastheseboundsareignoredthrough
anexcessiveexpansionoftheformativepowerofaparticularculturalsphere,disastroustensionsand
conflictsariseinhumansociety.Thismayevokeconvulsivereactionsonthepartofthosecultural
sphereswhicharethreatened,oritmayevenleadtothecompleteruinofacivilization,unlesscounter
tendenciesintheprocessofdevelopmentmanifestthemselvesbeforeitistoolateandacquire
sufficientculturalpowertochecktheexcessiveexpansionofpowerofaparticularculturalfactor.

Itisinsuchconsequencesoftheviolationoftheprinciplesofculturaleconomyandharmonyin
thehistoricalopeningupprocessthatajuridicalanticipationinhistorycomestolight.Atthispointwe
findourselvesconfrontedwiththeHegelianutterance:dieWeltgeschichteistdasWeltgericht.Idonot
acceptthisdictuminthesenseinwhichHegelmeantit;butthattheviolationofthenormative
principlestowhichtheopeningupprocessoftheculturalaspectofhistoryissubjectisavengedinthe
courseofworldhistorymaybeverifiedbyobservingtheconsequencesofsuchviolation.


Whenfinallythequestionisaskedwhatisthedeepestcauseofdisharmonyintheopeningup
processofhistorywecomefacetofacewiththeproblemconcerningtherelationshipbetweenfaithand
cultureandwiththereligiousbasicmotiveswhichoperateinthecentralsphereofhumanlife.The
disharmonyinquestionbelongs,alas,totheprogressivelineofculturaldevelopment,sinceitcanonly
revealitselfinthehistoricalopeningupprocessofculturaldifferentiation.Inaprimitiveclosedculture
theconflictsandtensionswhichareinparticulartobeobservedinmodernWesterncivilizationcannot
occur.Asaconsequenceofthefactthatanyexpansionoftheformativepowerofmankindgivesriseto
anincreasingmanifestationofhumansin,thehistoricalopeningupprocessismarkedbybloodand
tears,anditdoesnotleadtoanearthlyparadise.

What,then,isthesenseinthisentireextremeendeavor,conflict,andmiserytowhichman
submitsinordertofulfillhisculturaltaskintheworld?Radicalhistoricism,asitmanifesteditselfinallits
consequencesinSpenglersDeclineoftheWest,deprivedthehistoryofmankindofanyhopeforthe
futureandmadeitmeaningless.Thisistheresultoftheabsolutizationofthehistoricalaspectof
experience;forwehaveseenthatthelattercanonlyrevealitssignificanceinanunbreakablecoherence
withalltheotheraspectsofourtemporalexperientialhorizon;andthishorizonitselfreferstothe
humanegoasitscentralpointofreferencebothinitsspiritualcommunionwithallotherhumanegos
andinitscentralrelationshiptotheDivineAuthorofallthathasbeencreated.

Intheultimateissuethatproblemofthemeaningofhistoryrevolvesonthecentralquestion:
Whoismanhimselfandwhatishisoriginandhisfinaldestination?Outsideofthebiblicalbasicmotive
ofcreation,thefall,andredemptionthroughJesusChrist,norealansweris,inmyopinion,tobefound
tothisquestion.Theconflictsanddialecticaltensionswhichoccurintheprocessoftheopeningupof
humancultureresultfromtheabsolutizationofwhatisrelative.Andeveryabsolutizationtakesitsorigin
fromthespiritofapostasy,fromthespiritofthecivitasterrena,asAugustinecalledit.

Therewouldbenofuturehopeformankindandforthewholeprocessofmanscultural
development,ifJesusChristhadnotbecomesthespiritualcentreofworldhistory.Thiscentreisbound
neithertotheWesternnortoanyothercivilization,butitwillleadthenewmankindasawholetoits
truedestination,sinceithasconqueredtheworldbytheloverevealedinitsselfsacrifice.