European Dominance of the World

In 2003, Charles Murray set out to list the history of human achievement in the arts and the sciences. He intended to list the achievements of all cultures and peoples in as balanced a way as possible. But he discovered, that to be honest, he was forced to give Europeans the lion’s share of accomplishments — between the years 800 BC and 1950 AD.

IN HIS 2003 book, Human Accomplishment: Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950, Charles Murray argued that the great artistic and scientific accomplishments were overwhelmingly European. ”What the human species is today,” he wrote, “it owes in astonishing degree to what was accomplished in just half a dozen centuries by the peoples of one small portion of the northwestern Eurasian land mass.” Ricardo Duchesne

Murray was looking primarily at the sciences and the arts. But Europeans were exceptional in other ways as well. Europeans were the great explorers of both the outer and inner worlds. First to circumnavigate the globe, first to develop the scientific method, and first to explore the depths of the human mind using scientific methods. And that was just the beginning.

Europeans were not only exceptional in their literary endeavors, but also in their agonistic and expansionist behaviors. Their great books, including their liberal values, were themselves inseparably connected to their aristocratic ethos of competitive individualism… The expansionist dispositions of Europeans as well as their literary and other achievements were similarly driven by an aggressive and individually felt desire for superlative and undemocratic recognition.

… Spengler designated the West as a “Faustian” culture whose “prime-symbol” was “pure and limitless space.” This spirit was first visible in medieval Europe, starting with Romanesque art, but particularly in the “spaciousness of Gothic cathedrals;” “the heroes” of the Scandinavian, Germanic, and Icelandic sagas; the Crusades; the Viking sailing of the North Atlantic Ocean; the Germanic conquest of the Slavonic East; the Spaniards in the Americas; and the Portuguese in the East Indies.6 _Ricardo Duchesne

The seeds of European greatness were planted in ancient Greece and Rome. Some of these seeds found their way to Persia, Egypt, and India for further development.

After the fall of Rome, Europe’s greatness lay fallow for almost a thousand years, before springing up in the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution, with the re-emergence of old European knowledge that had been preserved and added to by scientists and mathematicians of the Islamic and Hindu worlds.

From that point on, Europe and the descendants of Europe were responsible for most of the great human achievements of subsequent history.

Civilisation began and first developed in the river valleys of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and South Asia. But things did not really begin to get interesting until civilisations cropped up in China and southern Europe.

The race was on between China and Europe for world dominance. China’s early accomplishments outshone most of what Europe achieved, but by most meaningful measures (other than population numbers), Europe and its offspring came to dominate the planet through the 20th century. To understand the breathtaking extent of the dominance of the arts and sciences over the time period studied, one would need to read Charles Murray’s book, Human Accomplishment.

But nothing lasts forever, and the European continent has been in decline for over a hundred years.

From 1850 to 1950, per capita accomplishment tended to decline, which is especially striking considering the huge spread of education. Diminishing returns in the sciences seem inevitable because the low-hanging fruit was picked first. In the arts, though, Murray believes that loss of faith in both the purpose of life and the efficacy of the individual retarded greatness, especially in the post-Freudian age.

Murray expects that almost no art from the second half of the 20th century will be remembered in 200 years. Indeed, Europe, homeland of geniuses, has collapsed into a comfortable cultural stasis reminiscent of Rome in the 2nd century A.D. In addition to Murray’s philosophical explanations, I’d also point to causes such as the genocide of Europe’s highest-achieving ethnic group (Jews were about six times more likely than gentiles to become significant figures from 1870 onward); the rise of anti-elitist ideologies; and the decline of nationalism. From Vergil to Verdi, great men engendered great works to celebrate their nations. Nobody, however, seems likely to create an epic glorifying the European Union. __Steve Sailer’s review of Human Accomplishment

Fjordman’s review of Human Accomplishment

Wikipedia: History of Europe

A few books that examine the question of why some nations succeed while others fail.

A set of 5 short essays by Peter Baldwin comparing Europe and the US

Amy Chua and husband Jed Rubenfeld’s latest book that looks at achievement in the US, by culture

China is back in the running for global dominance, in large part due to its huge population of high IQ workers. But China is ageing rapidly, as is Europe, Japan, South Korea, and every other modern population. The only populations that are still growing rapidly, are relatively low IQ populations in third world countries.

Since no one wants an Idiocracy, the intelligent people of the world — whether of European, East Asian, Jewish, or other high IQ population — had best work for something even more important than dominance. That would be a future world well suited for free and intelligent humans.

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11 Responses to European Dominance of the World

  1. Abelard Lindsey says:

    Since no one wants an Idiocracy, the intelligent people of the world — whether of European, East Asian, Jewish, or other high IQ population — had best work for something even more important than dominance. That would be a future world well suited for free and intelligent humans.

    This is the purpose of transhumanist ideology. I believe transhumanism, in one of its flavors, is the appropriate world-view for intelligent, competent individuals seeking freedom and self-empowerment. One of the differences I have with the so-called dark enlightenment is that many of them believe a return to Christianity is essential for the future of technological civilization. I disagree with this. I believe transhumanism is vastly superior to Christianity as a world-view appropriate for advanced technological civilization.

  2. James Bowery says:

    The Dark Enlightenment is a joke. Transhumanism is a joke.

    Few have the intellectual courage and depth to confront the biological structure of eusociality as expressed in humans, and its relationship to the natural world. The Dark Enlightenment and Transhumanism are both simply rehashing human eusociality as “the solution”.

    The problem is people confuse dominance with creativity. Yes, eusociality yields ecological dominance as meticulously described by E. O. Wilson in “The Social Conquest of Earth”. The calculus of power doesn’t prohibit creativity but neither does it select for it ultimately. If you can attain power by sending out a lobotomizing virus that reduces humanity to what E. O. Wilson calls “angelic robots” you have achieved the end point of civilization: ultimate dominance.

    In this calculus of power, such group entities are actually group organisms that turn sexual beings into specialized asexual organelles of asexual cells. For the Dark Enlightenment, they become part of “The Body” For transhumanists they become part of “The AI”. In either case the physical manifestation of the life form has a relationship to nature that is basically “Eat it.”

    In prehistory such human-consuming asexual group organisms were actually called by their mythic names which included “dragons”, “serpents”, “vipers”, “giants”, etc. The erstwhile humans that had been effectively reduced to specialized asexual organelles were “dwarves”.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Very interesting discussion, thanks.

      One of your ideas above corresponds to a plot sketch for a novel that I have been playing with recently.

      Your comment (and the chain of comments linked to at NBF) hints at the deeper world that lies deep beneath — and largely supersedes — any form of ideology.

  3. alfin2101 says:

    I recommend that readers follow the above link in James’ comment. It leads to a fascinating series of comment exchanges at Brian Wang’s NextBigFuture blogsite.

    For those who want to get a jump on some of the concepts included in what appears to be an important although inchoate set of ideas, here are some links to basic concepts: EO Wilson’s paper: Eusociality, Origin and Consequences

    James’ argument is based on EO Wilson’s theory of evolution which Wilson defines in the paper above.

    We at the Al Fin Institutes of Advanced Human Evolution consider ourselves evolutionists of exceptional design. We applaud Darwin while not considering ourselves particularly Darwinian. Neither would we consider ourselves Wilsonian. Still, some of Wilson’s ideas sparkle, and appear to offer themselves on a somewhat a la carte basis.

    The article on European dominance above was meant as an introduction to a much fuller discussion which will orbit around human migration, expansion, and divergent genetic evolution.

  4. bob sykes says:

    First, eusociality refers specifically to the social structure of ants and closely related insects, and it is based on the peculiarities of their DNA inheritance. Its application to animals with other genetic mechanisms is debatable.

    As to European domination in creating the modern world, you should note that it was done almost entirely by European men. In fact, some biologists have speculated that science and art are male sexual displays.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Technically you are correct about “eusociality” on a certain level. However EO Wilson has expanded the discussion considerably. In other words, the word not only means what you think it means, it actually means a lot more. You may want to read Wilson’s PNAS article linked above, and his book which expands on the concept considerably. You are correct that expanded applications of words which once had limited applicability, are always debatable. History has generally ruled on the side of malleable language.

      Your point about European exploration and domination of the arts and sciences being done almost exclusively by men is accurate. Now that women have greater freedom to enter any field of activity, we will see if they can even the score. Long-time readers of Al Fin blogs will be sceptical about the likelihood of male : female parity of accomplishment anytime soon, and for good reason.

      BTW, human hive-minds have long been a popular theme in science fiction.

  5. Sam says:

    “…European, East Asian, Jewish, or other high IQ population — had best work for something even more important than dominance…” I don’t see this happening. Jews are dominating American and European society. They seem to like it this way. I believe they somehow think they’re going to move to Asia at some point. I don’t believe they will be able to pull it off. They’re too different from Asian societies to fit in. Why we are trading with China I don’t know. A few people make a lot of money but the whole of American society will be punished for it. They’re mercantilist, as were we, and will never trade with us at any reasonable parity. They are aggressive as an aggrieved power. How aggressive I’m not sure. Some of it may gorilla dust. I hope so. I read a book a long time ago, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, called “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers” and it amazing how people keep making the same mistakes over and over. Trading and helping China is not in our best interest.
    “…skeptical about the likelihood of male : female parity of accomplishment…” Females don’t have to accomplish anything. They’re females and men will take care of them. It’s difficult to excel when consciously or unconsciously you know it’s not necessary. Doesn’t mean they’re not able on some level.

    Frank Herbert’s “The Santaroga Barrier” is a good hive mind book. All of his books are good.

  6. Sam says:

    My mistake. It was Herbert’s “Hellstrom’s Hive”.

  7. Sam says:

    Double mistake it’s actually both that are hive minds. Been a long time since I read them.

  8. Stephen says:

    I have mixd feelings about transhumanism. I agree it is neither desirable or probably even possible for Christianity to make a comeback like some Dark Enlightenment philosophes would like. However, while much of the peak oil doomers and climate change alarmists are simply technophobic misanthropes, there are transhumanist elements that seem to be simply technophilic misanthropes. I want a better, smarter, longer living humanity. I want humanity destroyed by AI or replaced by machines or losing its individuality and soul to some borg hivemind. I suspect pretty much all humans would use nanotechology to extend lifespans and cure disease but very few would ever consent to become cyborgs. Some transhumanists seem to hate humans for not being robot enough and thus devoid of emotions, animal passions, and a desire not to work 24/7. I love human natures and I really want technology to turn humanity into what have called superhumans before: smarter, healthier, much longer living, and approaching demi-god status. I think humanity should shoot for Dune, the Federation, and eventually the Q and not the Borg and perhaps Skynet.

    • Stephen says:

      This should read “I DO NOT want humanity destroyed by AI or replaced by machines or losing its indivuality and soul to some borg hivemind.”
      I am recovering from a medical procedure and writing on a tablet right now.

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