Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Online CCR article availability

Online CCR article availability

Reaching back to 1979 there are 892 searchable items including Front Matter, Editor's Notes, Articles, Book Reviews, Letters to the Editor and End Matter. All items are searchable by date, issue, title, author and other refined characteristics. The current, but growing list of authors covers 14 pages.  Once an item is found, it is easy to find the letters PDF just below the page number for the article. Clicking on PDF opens a new window which may actually display the article, but if not simply click on the words Download This PDF File, located just under the new window on the left, and the article will begin the downloading process onto your computer. You can then open it and read or print it at your convenience.

For over a year articles from Comparative Civilizations Review have been available online. Access is through an easy to use link,
prominently displayed in the center of the home page of the ISCSC website:

Our Society owes a debt of gratitude to Connie Lamb for making this a part of what we offer for researchers and scholars. The countless hours she dedicated to making the online presence of CCR make Connie most deserving of a wellspring of kudos from all those who will benefit from her dedication.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss Philosopher of History—100th Anniversary of His Death 1897

Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss Philosopher of History—100th Anniversary of His Death 1897 By Bertil Haggman,


A Few Reflections and Notes

Jacob Burckhardt's Weltgeschichtliche Betrachtungen were translated and published in English in the 1940s. The original version in German was published post-humously.

The book is based on lectures by Burckhardt in 1868 and 1871. The first four chapters are an ‘Introduction to the ‘Study of History’. It deals with the historical process and the three main forces that shape a civilization: State, Religion and Culture.

The establishment of a state or a religion is often the result of the displacement of a previous power that has become corrupt or decadent. It is often based on ideals to set up a new order. But the new order has to maintain itself in power. Therefore power in the end has a corrosive action on humanity. The role of the state is therefore to check factions, who want to gain power by the means of force, and to maintain a sense of security and continuity.

Religions, so Burckhardt, are the expression of human nature's eternal and indestructable meta-physical need. Religion is also a constant which seeks to maintain a stable and perdurable state of a civilization.

Change is the essence of history. Thus culture is the most important element of a civilization:

“Culture may be defined as the sum total of those mental developments which take place spontaneously and lay no claim to universal or compulsive authority….Its total external form…as distinguished from the State and Religion, is society in its broadest sense.” (p.140).

In a chapter on crisis of history JB discusses the accelerated movement of the process of history. It is when developments that normally take centuries pass by in a few months or even a few days.

Several parts of this section of the book is a warning to our time as JB has often been described as a prophetic philosopher of history. No doubt he saw in the 19th century the omens of coming ‘tremendous national wars’ (p.292), and an escalating concern for moneymaking and self-interest. JB's popularity in Britain and the United States to a great extent comes from his warnings of a coming struggle between freedom and the all powerful State as experienced in the struggle agains the totalitarian forces of fascism, national socialism and marxism-leninism.

Another important section in Force & Freedom, that on fortune and misfortune in history, deals with interpretation of history. Our study of the past must be free of egoism, ulterior motives and vain assumptions of superiority. Moral progress is relevant to the life of the individual and not to whole epochs. If, even in bygone times, men gave their lives for each other, we have not progressed since.

JB was critical of progress. His insight that power never yet improved a man made him well aware that progress is an ephemeral ideal based rather on wishful thinking than on actuality. He thus rejected an approach to history based on political events as such or study of powerful individuals. No doubt there are crucial developments in history that influence all subsequent periods but it is wrong to see progress in such events and deduce continuos improvements from them.


 Bertil Haggman

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2014 ISCSC Conference CFP

Dear Esteemed Colleagues,

Please find attached the Call for Papers for the June 2014 conference of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations.

The Theme for 2014 is "Can Collective Wisdom Save Civilization?". The conference will be held at Monmouth University on the New Jersey shore, a lively, scenic location with the Atlantic Ocean and boardwalk nearby. An excursion is being planned for interested delegates, and there will also be reduced registration fees for graduate students.

If you have and/or are currently writing a paper that you think fits the theme, or is otherwise related to civilizational issues in general, please consider submitting an abstract by April 1, 2014. Please submit abstracts to:

Also, would you please forward this Call to anyone you think might be interested?
Our apologies if you received notice of this Call under another cover - please excuse the cross posting.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Best regards,

David J. Rosner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Metropolitan College of New York
President, International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations

CALL FOR PAPERS: 44th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations

June 11-14, 2014
Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA
Can Collective Wisdom Save Civilization?

Jonathan Lear, in his book Radical Hope (2006), wrote:

We live in an age of deep and profound angst that the world itself, as we know it, is vulnerable and could break down…We are confronted with global warming, nuclear conflagration, weapons of mass destruction…and even the demise of civilization itself…events around the world – terrorist attacks, violent social upheavals…have left us with an uncanny sense of menace. We seem to be aware of a shared vulnerability that we cannot name.”(p. 7)

What is the way out of this deep sense of contemporary crisis? What exactly is “wisdom” and how can wisdom be promoted on a global level to deal with a number of serious crises now facing the future of civilization? What have been some different definitions of wisdom? This is an ancient topic, but how can it be specifically applied today? What, if anything, can be done to solve these problems collectively?

Some applications may be (but are not limited to) the following questions:

§ What exactly is human nature and how is this relevant to civilizational futures?
§ What are some possible solutions to overpopulation and the related problems of over-industrialization, resource-depletion and environmental degradation?
§ What are some possible solutions to the problem of inequality, economic and otherwise?
§ Why do a few have so much while so many have so little? Do rich nations have any responsibilities to the poor ones?
§ Is Capitalism really working today? What did the “occupy” movements signify? Why are many western economies currently floundering? How have technological advances (especially increasing automation) contributed to the current jobs crisis?
§ Does material accumulation really bring happiness? Why/why not?
§ Is humankind naturally prone to conflict or cooperation? How are organizations like the United Nations faring with regard to international responses to regional problems?
§ What is a Utopia? Dystopia? How are these terms relevant today? What roles do utopias and dystopias play for the future of society? Have our leaders run out of inspiration? Is fear now the main rhetoric?
§ In the 20th century, humanity saw the rise of several grand ideologies: Communism, Fascism, Liberalism, etc. We also saw the dismantling of many of the institutions built on these grand visions. Have today’s leaders given up on grand visions? Is narrow self-interest and small scaled-down retraction now the trend? If so, what are the implications of this? Is this ‘realpolitik’ or just the politics of disillusionment?

And of course, papers concerning all questions relevant to civilizational studies are also welcome! These could include:

• Studies of great civilizationalists, e.g., Spengler, Toynbee, Sorokin. Quigley, etc.
• Analyses of particular civilizations and/or comparative studies of civilizations.
• Decline and progress of civilizations.

Please send abstracts via email by April 1, 2014 (@ 300 words) to:
Prof. David J. Rosner
Metropolitan College of New York
ISCSC President and 2014 Program Chair

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Please check out Ashok Malhotra's interview (on Grandpa Chopra's Stories) with Bill Jaker on "Off the Page" (NPR) on April 30, 2013.

Off the Page -


Off the Page. WSKG's bi-weekly interview & call-in program with local authors from Binghamton, Ithaca, Elmira and surrounding areas served by WSKG Public ...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ISCSC 2013 Conference Program


Wednesday, June 12, 2012
7:00 pm Welcoming Reception

Thursday, June 13, 2012
Breakfast 7:30 AM
Crocker Dining Hall

8:30 AM Madrone Room
Welcome and Introductions

9:00 to 10:15 AM Plenary:  Madrone Room

Andrew Targowski:  Unanticipated Consequences:  The “Black Stain” on Western Civilization: How IBM Machines Helped the Germans to Kill an Additional Four Million People, Including 2.5 Million Jews, in World War II.  The Lesson for Today's Practice of Information Revolution.

NOTE:  All “A” sessions are in the Madrone Room; “B” sessions are in Embers; “C” sessions are in Afterglow.  Consult Conference Map.

Coffee Break 10:15-30 AM

10:30 to 11:45 AM

Session A:  Book Session: Two Major Books, Kaplan and Rosner
Chair:  David Rosner

Laina Farhat-Holzman and George Von der Muhll:  The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate.
Randall Groves and Laina Farhat-Holzman:  Conservatism and Crisis, the Anti-Modern Perspective in Twentieth-Century German Philosophy, by David Rosner.

Session B.  Contemporary Issues of Modernization
Chair: Marek Celinski

Tereza Coni Aguiar,  Local Impacts and Global Concerns: the Environmental Issue in the Ilha Grande Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Liubov Mikhaltsova:  Value-Based and Meaning-Based Orientations Analysis as a Vehicle for Active Convergence of Youth in Modern Civilizations
Maria Stepfenhart reviews Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, by Orlando Figes

Lunch:12:00 to 1:15 PM
Old Board Meeting
1:30 to 3:00 PM

Session A:  Crisis and Evolution of Civilization: Proposal for a Collaborative Book on Comparative
Chair:  David Rosner

Marek J. Celinski:  Crisis and Evolution of Civilization
Laina Farhat-Holzman:  In Defense of “Dead White Men”
David Rosner:  Progress, Decline, and Value Relativism
Mark Malisa: A Comparative Study of 20th and 21st century nonviolence in Nonwestern Civilizations.

Session B: Contemporary Aspects of Modernization
Chair:  Andrew Targowski

Yasuhiro Yoshizaki: Transformation of the Modern Ego in American
Andrew Targowski:  The Second Structural Crisis of Civilization in History.

Coffee Break 3:00 to 3:15 PM

3:30 to 5:00 PM

Session A:  Islam and Modernity
Chair:  Hisanori Kato

Hisanori Kato:  Islamic Fundamentalists’ approach to multiculturalism: the case of Pesanteren Education in Indonesia
Faranak Bavardeh:  Comparative Study of Ibn Khaldun and Oswald Spengler: The Theory of Cycles.

Session B. Islam:  Book Reviews and a Paper
Chair: Tseggai Isaac

Tseggai Isaac: Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam, by William F. McCants.
Abbey Perumpanani: The Arcadian Library: Western Appreciation of Arab and Islamic Civilization, by Alastair Hamilton,
Adan Stevens-Diaz:  Where Civilization Ends and Religious Faith Begins: Conversion Stories of Latino Muslims in the USA

5:00 to 6:00 PM:  Discussion and Presentation by ASILOMAR Park Ranger

DINNER 6:00 to 7:30

Session A.
7:30 to 8:30 PM (Round Tables and Plenaries)

Round Table: What is Civilization? Basic Definitions Discussed.
Moderator:  Michael Andregg

Abbey Perumpanani
David Wilkinson
Andrew Targowski

8:30-9:30  Specialization
Ross Maxwell:  Civilization, Specialization, Interdependence, Cooperation, and Trust.

FRIDAY, June 14, 2012
Breakfast 7 to 8:45 AM

9:00 to 10:15

Session A.  Civilizational Challenges
Chair:  John Grayzel

Tseggai Isaac:  Antidote or a Vehicle for the Normalization of Civilizational Decay.
Andrew Targowski: Lenin and Titley, The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age
John Grayzel:  From Change to Emergence Using Precursors of Religious Change as Indicators of the Emergence of a New Civilization.

Session B:  Asia
Chair:  Connie Lamb

Randall Groves: The Mekong: A Comparative Civilizationist’s Guide to Southeast Asia by way of Charles Higham’s Civilization of Angkor
Juri Abe:  When East Meets West: The Impact of Western Civilizations on Arinori Mori and Ousui Arai at the Dawn of Japan’s Modernization.
Connie Lamb: Peter B. Golden, Central Asia in World History

Coffee Break 10:15

10:30 to 11:45

Session A: Prehistory:  Primeval Origins of Mankind
Chair:  Laina Farhat-Holzman

James DeMeo: Saharasia: The Great Migrations of Desert Warrior Nomads Towards Fertile Lands
Harry Rhodes:  The Technology of Tools and Weapons:  Primeval Beginnings
Earnest B. Hook, A historical examination of the practices of medicine in the study of comparisons among civilizations

Session B: Other Civilizations
Chair:  Tseggai Isaac

Tseggai Isaac: Imperial China 900-1800, by Frederick W. Mote.
George Von der Muhll: Prague in Black and Gold, by Peter Demetz,
John Grayzel: India: Brief History of a Civilization, by Thomas R. Trautmann.

LUNCH 12 to 1:30 PM

1:30 to 2:45 PM

Session A: Strangers in a Strange World
Chair:  Lynn Rhodes

Enrico Beltramini: Double Religious Identity from the Story of a few European Catholic Clergymen in India.
Laina Farhat-Holzman: The Effect of Geography on the Future of Civilizations:  Mega-Cities.
Lynn Rhodes:  Civilizational Effects of Transition from a Pastoral to a Market-Driven Economy: Mongolia

Coffee Break 2:45

3:00 to 4:15
Session A. Books by ISCSC Members
Chair:  Michael Andregg

George Von der Muhll: Ten Inventions that Changed Everything, by Laina Farhat-Holzman
Laina Farhat-Holzman: Saharasia by James DeMeo
Michael Andregg: Intelligence:  A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences, by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, Ulster Institute for Social Research, 2012, Ireland

Crocker Dining Hall, Woodlands South Room

Breakfast 8 to 9:00 AM

Session A
9:30 to 10:00 General Meeting and Election

10:00 to 11:00 New Board Meeting

Checkout and lunch

For those going on wine-tasting outing, meet at flagpole for tour van at 1:00 pm.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ninash Foundation Annual Report 2012—2013

During December 2012 and January 2013, Ashok Malhotra, Founder/President and Linda Drake, Treasurer of the Ninash Foundation visited the Foundation’s 5 Indo-International schools established by the SUNY Oneonta Learn and Serve participants (1996-2008). At present these schools are providing education to more than 1200 female and minority children of India. They were accompanied by Dr. John Young, {Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Oregon State University, USA} and Dr. Jean Fang, {Retired Professor of Foreign Languages, Oregon State University, USA}. Dr. Kevin Brien {Philosophy Department, Washington College, Maryland, USA } also joined them during their visit to one of the Indo-International Schools that is situated in Mahapura, Rajasthan.

Visit to the Indo-International School in Kuran, Gujarat

During their visit (Dec 31, 2012-Jan 2, 2013) to the Indo-International School in Kuran, Gujarat, they were accompanied by Principal Ram Gusai and the teachers. The 280 children who in 2001 could speak only the local dialect of Kachhi, now showed their proficiency by reading, singing and reciting poetry in the four languages of Kachhi (local), Gujarati (regional), Hindi (national) and English (international). They also presented their skills in the use of computer by sending emails as well as in educating themselves by learning and speaking English through the use of various internet programs. The children also danced and sang songs for the visitors.Another highlight of the visit was the meeting with the local Panchayat (the political governing body) of the village that provided entertainment for the New Year’s Eve celebration. During an open forum with the Sarpanch (mayor), Panchayat (mayor’s council), Principal Gusai, Ashok, Linda, John and Jean discussed the basic issues of importance to the village. Following issues were put forth for discussion and implementation:To make the remote village of Kuran as a Model of Rural Educational Center for the State of Gujarat, India and the World, the following items were discussed:
1. The village needs to explore a source of fresh drinking water: To do so, the village needs to hire an agency that would check the possibility of digging an electrically operated well for fresh water and will provide an estimate on price, depth of the well and the time period within which it could be constructed. The Panchayat fixed April 30, 2013 as the deadline to get all the information on the project.
2. The village needs to clean up the rubbish: cleaning work to be divided among the children of the school and the people of the village. Cleaning to be done in four different steps: children should clean up the area around the school by carrying out the rubbish to a hole dug up for burying the garbage; people living in the village to clean up the area around their houses and to carry the rubbish to a hole dug up for that purpose; the head of the Panchayat should check on the surroundings of each house; award the cleanest three houses; and reprimand the owners of the dirtiest ones.
3. Furthermore, the Panchayat requested the Ninash Foundation in cooperation with the local governing body of the village to help finance the building of a road connecting the present elementary school with the newly built high school. The road will be lined with trees, bushes and lights for safety.
4. Principal Gusai of the Indo-International School (IIS) will appoint a couple of teachers to write down the oral history of the village in terms of its beginnings, folk lore, medical practices, art, artifacts religion, marriage, birth and death practices. The oral history would be written down and translated into English and the book would be put in the Kuran library as well as a copy will be presented to the state of Gujarat.
5. IIS would create a new shelf in the existing library in memory of Bertil, a poet friend of John and Mimi Koller and Milton Forman. This shelf will contain poetry books in Hindi, Gujarati and English. Also a mobile library with poetry books would be put in each class room. Furthermore, a poem would be read in the morning at the school assembly and a teacher would read a poem appropriate to each class; and prizes will be set up and given annually for reading and writing the most poems by a student and a teacher.
6. Students of IIS will follow the slogan of “each one teach one” by going back to their homes and teaching at least one sibling or a parent how to read and write as well as impart computer skills to other children from the school. The goal would be to have the entire village of 1400 people to become fully literate, which would be used as a model for the state of Gujarat, India and rest of the world.
7. Sakuba, a teenage girl who was born crippled and could not use her hands/fingers/arms, came to IIS when she was 4 years of age. She has been using her feet/toes to read and write. She has turned out to be such a bright teenager that she showed her computer skills by using the mouse through her toes/feet. A local NGO will be offering financial assistance to get her crippled arms x-rayed and surgery to be performed so that she would be able to get a use of her arms up to 80 % of their capacity. By getting the use of her arms, she would be able to finish high school and then go to college, get a job and might be able to get married and raise a family with dignity. This touching human story might be the focus of the next Ninash Video!
8. A student who lost one eye to an accident and could barely use the other has been declared as almost technically blind was thankful for being given the opportunity to get an education at the Indo-International School. This incentive might help him to finish high school and college education leading to completing his further studies. This could also be another touching human story that might be the focus of the next Ninash Video!
9. We also visited with Raju Kapadhya (a local NGO), who showed us a school for the underprivileged children serving a tribal community (near the village of Khawda) that was teaching 9th and 10th graders. The school needed three new rooms: one for computers and two for class rooms. The local NGO requested the Ninash Foundation to provide funds to build a computer room whereas two classrooms would be built through the village Panchayat, teachers and a local trust.

Visit to the Indo-International School in Dundlod

From January 3-6, 2013, our group of four visited the Indo-International School in Dundlod, accompanied by Director Dr. Ganga Singh (President of READS), Principal George, and teachers where we met with 580 children from both the primary and high schools.The school ran an open forum to discuss various issues of interest: children and teachers asked about the festivals, foods, climate, schools, education, teaching, snow, sports, games, etc. as well as the size of the airplane, number of passengers, time difference between India and the USA. The wonderful exchange of ideas with the children and teachers lasted for more than 2 hours.
10. Linda ran a session with teachers and staff to discuss the various uses of computers and how this knowledge could be used leading to better jobs for teachers and children. We also proposed the setting up of two awards for teachers and children who would be mastering the computer skills during the next year and sharing them with other teachers and students. Moreover, as incentive for the teachers and students, two I Pads will be given away to the best qualified computer teachers who would impart knowledge to others.
11. It was proposed that the IIS to create a new shelf in the library in memory of Bertil, a poet friend of John/Mimi Koller and Milton Forman. This shelf will be full of poetry books in Hindi, Rajasthani and English. Moreover a mobile library for each class room will be created where some of these poetry books would be put so that they will be available for children. Furthermore, a poem to be read at the start of the school each day; each teacher would read a short poem appropriate to each class; and prizes to be set up and given annually for reading and creating the most poems by a student and a teacher.
12. On January 5, Linda gave away 25 goats to the 25 poorest of poor people of the community with the following instructions: each goat is given as a gift from an American family who cares about the families in India. When each donated goat is fed well like one’s own children, it will give a good quantity of milk, which should be used by the family for its own consumption and extra milk to be shared with the neighbors; the goat should not to be sold or slaughtered; and each person receiving the goat will either sign their names or give a thumb print indicating that they received the goat. The goat giving ceremony lasted from 4-5:30 PM. Before these goats were given away, Linda and Ashok visited 5-6 families that received the goats to check out their living conditions. Since 2006, a total of 178 goats had been given away helping more than 700 poorest of poor people of the Dundlod village. As in the past, most of the money to  buy and give away 25 goats was raised by children and teachers of the Riverside School as well as the members of the Oneonta community.
13. At the Indo-International School in Dundlod, a local businessman donated six new computers to the IIS computer Center and promised to give more in the coming years. The inauguration of the computer room was done by Dr. John Young and Dr. Ganga Singh. This inauguration ceremony was followed by children performing various dances and singing songs for the visitors. Ganga, Linda and Ashok gave inspirational speeches to the children and teachers spreading the message of service and learning through the slogan of “each one teach one.” Children were excited to share their future plans of getting into police academy, becoming teachers, lawyers, doctors, computer specialists, politicians, taxi drivers, nurses, and even the Prime Minister or President of India.
14. Ashok also met with a couple of members of the Panchayat (members of mayor’s council) of Dundlod who promised to plant flowers, trees and bushes in the newly built park across from the Dundlod Fort. The idea to create such a park was the brain child of Ashok, which has been in the making for the past few years. The members of the Panchayat promised to have the park ready to be used for the recreation of the people of the village as well as for special social/religious ceremonies and political gatherings of the local community. They would have the park completed by next year and will open it with the next year’s goat giving ceremony.
15. The 580 children and 30 teachers as well as Principal George of the IIS were thankful for receiving a gift of the water well through the generous financial support of the Empire Toyota of Oneonta that helped build the well. They also thanked Raj and Christina Malhotra for providing financial support to fund the salary of a music teacher. They were also grateful to the donors of the Ninash Foundation that provided funds to build Jack Finestone Music Room and Hari Chand Chopra Culture room to be used for the High School classes.
16. The principal and teachers proposed and discussed with us the need for a playground and a park cum eco-garden for the children. A piece of land in the back of the school that is not being utilized for any productive purpose is to be used for creating such a playground/park to serve as a  recreation place  for  the  children,  teachers and local community. To build the play ground and the garden, funding was requested  from the Ninash Foundation.

Visit to the Indo-International Culture School in Mahapura (January 6-8, 2013)

17. John, Jean, Linda and Ashok were joined by Kevin Brien during their visit to the Indo-International Culture School in Mahapura. Our group of five along with Pushpendra Rathore (Artist); Yatan Rathore (Superintendent), Saroj Rathore (Principal), Mahavir Singh, Rashmi Singh (Advisors) and Liaqat Bhatti (Reporter and Photographer from a local newspaper) drove to the Indo-International Culture School in Mahapura where we were greeted by children with garlands and Tilak on our foreheads. We were also joined by a group of 30 visitors from the USA who had adopted a number of Indian children in the past. The children of Indo-International Culture School performed dances and sang songs for us. Inspirational speeches were given by Ashok, Yatan and older children regarding the value of education, culture and art. Children promised to follow the slogan of “each one teach one” by teaching at least one of their illiterate parent or sibling or neighbor.
18. John, Jean, Kevin, Linda and Ashok ran an open forum with children and teachers. Children asked Ashok to show them some meditation exercises, which they could do at the beginning of each class as well as after the recess. Ashok taught them a number of breathing and meditation exercises along with how to stand on their heads.
19. Children wanted to learn a few phrases of Chinese which Jean taught them. Kevin and John played basket ball and soccer as well as other sports with the children whereas some wanted to learn about the use of computer on which Linda gave an informational talk, on its uses and benefit toward getting a good job in the future.
20. After the children were gone, we held a conference with the teachers and the principal where the needs of the school were discussed. Two laptop were needed: one for the use of the school and the other for the use of the superintendent to keep the lines of communication open between the teachers, children and us in the USA. Through the Ninash Foundation, these two lap tops were bought for the school. These computers will be used to teach other teachers as well as children. A printer was also bought for record keeping of the school such as its enrollment, teachers’ names, salaries, budget, expenses, email, internet etc.
21. It was proposed that the IIS to create a new shelf in the library in memory of Bertil, a poet friend of John/Mimi Koller and Milton Forman. This shelf will be full of poetry books in Hindi, Rajasthani and English. Moreover a mobile library for each class room will be created where some of these poetry books would be put so that they will be available for children. Furthermore, a poem to be read at the start of the school each day; each teacher would read a short poem appropriate to each class; and prizes to be set up and given annually for reading and creating the most poems by a student and a teacher.

State of the Schools and Theme for Future Documentary

All the schools in Kuran, Mahapura and Dundlod were newly painted, the bathrooms were clean, eco-gardens were green, and libraries with books and computers supplying the necessary embellishment to teaching through the equipment and beautiful surroundings, were a sight to watch.At the end of our 2 weeks visit to the Indo-International schools in Kuran, Dundlod and Mahapura, we discussed possible ways of highlighting their accomplishment by creating a documentary that includes the touching story of the crippled Sakuba who might be able to get surgery to use 80% of her arms, to go to college and get married with a job that supports the family as well as depict the story of the partially blind student who could go to school and express his talents. This wonderful opportunity provided by the Ninash’s IIS schools to the disabled children to flourish with their talents in spite of the handicap, could be a central theme of the next Ninash documentary. Overall, the visit to the schools and their facilities, computer centers, libraries; water well and park for the community; art, music and culture rooms along with children speaking 3-4 languages and being computer literate was a joy to behold.

Learning through Immersion into India’s Culture (January 9-18, 2013)

After spending 10-12 days at the Indo-International Schools, we went on to immerse ourselves during the next 8-9 days into the historical, religious, philosophical, social and everyday culture of India through visiting Varanasi (ancient Hindu city of love, life and death); Sarnath (Buddhist city where Buddha gave his first sermon after enlightenment); Khajuraho (a city of Love and Erotic temples); Agra (Taj Mahal depicting eternal love) and Delhi/New Delhi (Capital of India and blend of nine cities).This trip would be used as a future model of for the SUNY Learn and Serve Study Abroad Program where the first 10-12 days will be used to visit and serve in the Indo-International Schools and the remaining 8-9 days for learning through immersion in the culture of India. 
Since these Indo-International schools serving the underprivileged minority children of India depend on the contributions from the generous donors, your tax-deductible donation can be sent to the Ninash Foundation, 17 Center Street, Oneonta, NY 13820, USA or visit the website at and donate through PayPal. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bertil Haggman

Cultures, Cycles and Philosophy of History - Less Known Civilizationists


2001 saw the publication of two important books in German casting light on a number of less known civilizationists (Axel Schwaiger, Christliche Geschichtsdeutung in der Moderne - Eine Untersuchung zum Geschichtsdenken von Juan Donoso Cortés, Ernst von Lasaulx und Vladimir Solov'ev in der Zusammenschau christlicher Historiographientwicklung, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 440 pages, and Michel Grunewald, Moeller van den Brucks Geschichtsphilosophie, "Ewige Urzeugung" "Ewige Anderswerdung" "Ewige Weitergabe", Bern: Peter Lang, 2001, 153 pages). Lang's work is one volume of two with the second a reprint on van den Bruck's historical.philosophical works (Volume 2: Rasse und Nation, Meinungen über deutsche Dinge, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, 375 pages)

Juan Donoso Cortés

Spaniard Cortés (1809 - 1853) is today mainly remembered as a conservative ideologist, fighting the liberal movement in the 19th century and a believer in the authority of the state. But he is also an important historical-philosophical theorist. Much of his writings were not treated in detail until after World War II, much of it in Germany as Donoso Cortés had been Spanish ambassador in Berlin. In relation to Oswald Spengler he was regarded as a precursor (see for instance Th.P.Neill,"Juan Donoso Cortés: History and prophecy", The Catholic Historical Review 40, 1955, pp. 385 - 410) in warning that the West was ezperiencing a decline. The catastrophe of the two world wars seemed to many the realization of Donoso Cortés apocalyptic views, which were part of his historical-philosophical world view. The ideals of liberalism and socialism meant a disastrous future for the European peoples.

Donoso Cortés saw revolution as a disaster and predicted: "The revolution will be victorious everywhere, but in Germany more complete and profoundly than anywhere else." (p. 174). History to this Spanish diplomat is "the biography of mankind" from Adam and forward but there is a difference between 'historia sagrada' and 'historia profana'. There are three world historical periods and the modern period is also the end of history. He sees world history being the history of rebellions. They are the result of the guilt of man and is at the same time God's punishment of human society. But he was (like Spengler) really not a pessimist. The coming catastrophe would only make God's intervention more magnificent.

In European tradition many conservatives, mainly continental, have been critical of the French revolution, seeing it as the beginning of catastrophic events, resulting finally in the totalitarianisms of national socialism and marxism-leninism. The freedoms of 1789 threatened to end in anarchism and bringing despots to power. Against this stood a Catholic civilization: "Catholicism is a complete system of civilization, so complete" that it encompasses everything: the science of God, the science of the angels, the science of the universe, the science of man." (p.202) according to Donoso Cortés. Thus all political struggle against revolution was aimed at postponing the catastrophe. Liberalism and socialism threatened the Christian civilization. History's end was the success and world power of Antichrist. Revolutionary theories of progress thus helped the forces of Antichrist. The French socialist Proudhon (Cortés was after Berlin Spanish ambassador inParis) was the Antichristian type. He represented all Cortés was fighting: "That is my philosophy, that is the complete philosophy of history, to which I am confessing." (p. 217).

It is also interesting to note that Donoso Cortés, like de Tocqueville, predicted the rise of the United States and Russia: "Today only a few nationas are capable of what could be called foreign policy; Only three nations have it, one is America, to in Europé: England, Russia and the United States of America." (p. 219). But also Lasaulx and Solovev predict at least the rise of Russia. Around 1850, however, Donoso Cortés was the only theorist to express the belief in a revolutionary development in Russia and a total change from monarchy to revolutionary despotism. The prognosticist was also correct in believing that socialism would add religious features.

In 1850 Donoso Cortés wrote: "Before Russia is able to unleash a general war, to force its will" on the continent several things must happen (among them socialist solutions in society). After 1945 one can for a period identify a 'Donoso redivivus' in the writings of Berdajev, Dawson, Guardini, Pieper, and Toynbee.

Ernst von Lasaulx

Like Donoso Cortés the Rhinelander Lasaulx (1805-1861) can be regarded as a forerunner of Oswald Spengler. In his main work, Neuer Versuch einer alten, auf die Wahrheit der Tatsachen gegründete Philosophie der Geschichte (1856), he presented a view on the birth, growth, and decline of peoples and states. According to Lasaulx the dynamic of history was created by antagonism between Europe and Asia/Africa, between east and west, south and north. It appeared in the struggle between the Muslim Turks and the Christian Europeans. But the antagonism could also be found in the struggle between England and China during the 19th century. Thus his philosophy of history was more based on geographical determination than on the struggle between civilizations in the works of Donoso Cortés.

Lasaulx described the growth and decline of peoples and states in a biological sense. Peoples and states became ill and had to be pruned and replanted. It was part of a natural process. The time of such processes was 2000 to 4000 years of which half of the period could be seen as an era of growth and blooming. The development of world history passed from Babylon and Assur to the Greek and Roman civilizations. Lasaulx borrowed, however, much of the description of the period of decline

from the German Karl Friedrich Vollgraff.

The prognoses of Lasaulx for the Europeans was pessimistic. Man stood at the same threshold in the 19th century as in the 4th century. It could be regarded as a prelude to the coming catastrophic events.

Vladimir Solovev

The Russian Solovev (1853-1900) is not well known in the West. Also his prognoses were pessimistic. In history of man there was a division. Only a minority would choose God and opt for good. The majority would fall for the power of evil. Solovev differed from Donoso Cortés and Lasaulx in that he more in detail predicted historic-political development during the 20th century (Three Conversations on War, Progress and the End of World History, 1899/1900). In the beginning of the 20th century Japan would conquer Korea and China establishing a strong Asiatic military power. After having conquered the European colonies in Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Burma and others) these became part of the new Japanese-Chinese empire. The huge Asiatic army would attack Russian Central Asia, cross the Urals and spread over Russia's western lands. The conquerors would move to capture Germany andFrance while England avoided occupation. The Asiatic empire would also send naval expeditions against America and Australia. After 50 years of occupation,however, the Europeans rose in revolt and liberated themselves. Around 2000 the liberation struggle led to the forming of the United States of Europe, a union of states that were more or less democratically governed. Solovev predicted the rise of a global culture, the fall of the Russian czars and the establishment of an independent Jewish state in Palestine.

Solovev also foresaw a digital technological revolution (in the foreword of his main work, in which he wrote: "The magic and mechanic technology of this we cannot predict in detail and we can only be sure, that it will in 200 or 300 years vastly surpass present technology") which we are experiencing today, but which must have seemed like magic for the readers of his work on the treshold of the 20th century. He also wrote about the resurgence of Islam.

In details, of course, Solovev was incorrect. He missed both World Wars, the Russian revolution and the Cold War bipolar confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. But some of the predictions of Solovev did actually become reality. Schwaigers reintroduction of this Russian civilizationist is both timely and important.

Moeller van den Bruck

The works on the Weimar Era German conservative van den Bruck (1876 - 1925) have generally taken little notice of his interest in the philosophy of history. He did not believe in the decline of the West and thought it necessary to refute Oswald Spengler in his historical-philosophical works. It was important, he believed, to popularize a "metaphysics of reality", which implied synthesis of the main traditions of western philosophy. Van den Bruck was a nationalist and therefore primarily saw the different peoples as the agents of history.

Das Recht der jungen Völker (1919) established a new outline of history. It was not only a struggle between young and old peoples. There was also a spiral movement without end. Van den Bruck based his new model on older ones. One of these was Geschichte der Farbenlehre by Goethe, who also claimed that there was a spiral development in world history. But the most important influence was that of the German historian Kurt Breysig (for more on Breysig see section 7 below).

The rotation of world history resulted in geopolitical changes. Van den Bruck's model also provided indications of spatial migration of history northwards, which gave it a spatial, geopolitical essence. After 1914, however, van den Bruck expressed the belief of migration toward the east(in which he differed from a general myth of history that it had from Babylon migrated in a westerly direction, eventually to America). But the view of the easterly direction had taken root among 'conservative revolutionaries' inGermany after World War I. It was a pretty common understanding among them that after the Russian revolution the center of gravity of world history would be placed in the European east. In the coming decades development would be based on what was happening in the western part of this area (Germany was after World War I still a country to a great extent based on its eastern territories: Pomerania, Brandenburg, Silesia and East Prussia).

The rotation had gained speed and the south had already joined the west as periphery. The rotation was turning into revolution. In the pessimistic climate of Weimar Germany it was important to the conservatives to instill confidence in the future. Thus Germans and Russians were described as "young peoples" of the future. The Germans had a great will to life. This would be important in the coming era of the world revolution. Overpopulation was working to the advantage of Germany and would strengthen her during the 20th century. The decline of the West was not Germany's decline. The future was determined by the "young peoples" which were throwing of their shackles. Thus the Germans were described in reality to be in the same category as the colonial peoples.

In his important work Grunewald has thrown light on a philosopher of history less well known than Spengler and Toynbee. Grunewalds books have also opened the road to rediscovery of Kurt Breysig.

Kurt Breysig

Kurt Breysig (1866 - 1940), whose main work was republished in 2001 (Die Geschichte der Menschheit, 2nd edition, introduction by Arnold Toynbee from 1955, 4 volumes, 1776 pages) in his book Der Stufen-Bau und die Gesetze der Weltgeschichte (1905) first brought up the theory of the spiral movement of history. He later made it the main theory in his monumental history of mankind. This latter work is a cultural history of mankind from the Stone Age to French impressionism.

The spiral ethnological-anthropological theory by Breysig is also used to describe European culture with the same consequences as for the non-European peoples.

This German world historian was already in 1896 professor of history at the University of Berlin. In 1932 he left his chair and devoted all his time to publishing on cultural history based on the spiral theory (Stufen-bau) of 1905.


The Biblical-Christian historical world view was for centuries important. This has been described as an historical interpretation based on views of the Middle Ages. But there are civilizational approaches in the 19th century that view civilizations in theological terms. The Spanish, German and Russian philosophers of history presented by Dr. Axel Schwaiger in his recent work are important also in the 21st century. Their prognoses were often accurate and they deserve renewed study on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, especially after the collapse of Soviet communism in 1991 as the most extreme form of socialism Donoso Cortés warned of.

The less known philosophers of history of the 20th century, van den Bruck and Breysig, also deserve rediscovery. The publication of Professor Breysig's main work in 2001 and Dr. Grunewald's reintroduction of the often forgotten aspects of the writings of van den Bruck is a welcome addition in the expanding field of civilizational theory. It is important that the field of macrohistory is further developed in the 21st century, but this should be combined with study and research of many less known civilizationists. A good start was made by the publication in 2001 of the works reviewed in this report. They deserve to be translated into English and published in theUnited States and England.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Urban-Rural conflict

The Urban-Rural Conflict is Central to Today’s Global Dysfunction.
Laina Farhat-Holzman
January 5, 2013

Civilization began with the rise of cities (civilization means city building), some 5,000 years ago. To have such institutions as irrigation systems, professional armies, specialized priesthood, and professional artisans, population concentration is essential. Villages cannot produce such specialization.

Cities have always appealed to the ambitious, who love the colorful energy of city life, and refugees from the no-longer viable countryside. Successful cities attract talent; unsuccessful ones attract crime and anarchy. Both kinds have existed throughout human history, and are with us today.

Until the mid-20th century, the vast majority of people in the world were rural: mostly engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry, some in migratory life on the fringes of society. Today, most human beings live in cities, increasingly in mega-cities with populations 10 million and up.

Village or nomadic life has always depended upon a timeless rhythm of nature and unchanging culture. Survival depended on luck and total obedience to competent leadership and a long-tested culture. Community mattered; the individual did not.  Because of ever-present danger coming from outside, the strongest had to rule. Ancient tribes never had enough child bearers, which was one of the earliest reasons for raiding and warfare.

Cities, the original “civilizations,” have depended on good leadership and complex systems. Nomads never worry about human waste or unpolluted water because they are always on the move. Cities, however, depend upon setting up systems for bringing in water and disposing of waste. Ancient Rome owed its longevity to its expertise in handling water and waste. Dark Age cities that failed to do this suffered from constant population decline from plagues or invasion by better led predators

Leadership must either be perceived as fair or have means of oppression at their disposal. This is so even today in the obvious difference between civilizations with participatory governance and those with authoritarian or totalitarian thugocracies.
Pressing elections on countries with a majority living in rural communities and educated minorities only in cities has had unforeseen consequences, the most obvious case being Egypt. Moreover, even cities with some educated populations (like Cairo) are being overwhelmed by migrants from the countryside---who vote. These migrants are alienated, no longer nurtured by a community of relatives as they were in their villages; however, Islam’s latest mode, militant and aggressive, has filled the role of community that these migrants have lost.

The demographic shift from rural to urban is now visible in the badly named “Arab Spring.”  An electorate that is largely illiterate overwhelmed the secular urban vote, giving Egypt an Islamist government. The cries of Islamist street demonstrators: “Bread, Freedom, and Sharia (Islamic law)” has nothing to do with freedom; “Sharia law” does not provide “freedom” nor do the shouting men plan to give “freedom” to their women and children. They do not know better.

While the disparity between urban and rural life is deadly in the under-developed world, it plays a role even in our own country. Those who idealize small town life exaggerate its virtues and also disparage great cities. Even the college- educated who work in such cities have moved to provide suburban life for their children. Fortunately this is beginning to change, as well-run cities attract families back. For those like myself, who remember our childhoods in wonderful cities, this is a welcome development.

Part of the still existing hostility against urban life comes from those fearful of immigrants manifested in anti-immigration hysteria. Floods of immigrants take some time to acculturate, and they do bring with them spikes in crime, a problem that can be mitigated with good governance.

Many of us are children of immigrant parents who wanted nothing more than to become American in every way. Those who succeeded become the philanthropists, doctors, musicians, and geniuses who make our culture shine. Today, much of our new economic vitality is the gift of hard working immigrants or foreign students whom we educate. This kind of immigrant we should welcome. Those with a violent agenda we should not welcome.

It took 9/11 to make us love New York. Let’s not continue the urban-rural dislikes. We are one country, not two worlds.

William Butler Yeats and World History

Betill Haggman
”Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
William Butler Yeats
Historical inquiry, philosophy and myth are important and vital parts of the writings of William Butler Yeats and Oswald Spengler. The latter’s main work, published in a first volume 1918 and a second volume five years later, The Decline of the West, was an exhibit of literary power and beauty.
Yeats connection to Spengler has not been sufficiently researched. This short essay is an attempt to point out a few possible directions for such a research.
For the Nobel Prize winner 1923 history had a position as symbol. Yeats commented that it was a remarkable coincidence between his own ideas and Spengler’s in the fact that his 1925 edition of A Vision, appeared so close in time to The Decline of the West.
Spengler’s vision was described by him as:
”In the Destiny-idea the soul reveals its world-longing, its desire to rise into the light, to accomplish and actualize its vocation. To no man is it entirely alien, and not before one has become the un-anchored ”late” man of the megalopolis is original vision quite overpowered by matter-of-fact feeling and mechanized thought. Even then, in some intense hour, the lost vision comes back to one with terrible clearness, shattering in a moment all the causality of the world’s surface.”
In A Vision, Yeats can possibly be said to fulfill the desire of the soul that Spengler describes. Both Yeats and Spengler believe in the cyclic movement of human history. It is a scheme emerging from the vast unconscious of the human race. It unites the opposing forces in the universe.
In Book V of A Vision Yeats interprets the history of western civilization in terms of his cyclic view. The expanding cones, in a great dance of spheres, reduce history to perennial and predictable cyclic movements. ”…one must consider not the movement only from the beginning to the end of the ascending cone, but the gyres that touch its sides, the horizontal dance.” (Yeats, p. 270).
All of history is encompassed in a ritual of turning and widening, winding and unwinding, disintegration and rebirth.
William Butler Yeats view of history is mythical. In A Vision he presented an opposing view of history:
”The historian thinks of Greece as an advance on Persia, of Rome as in something as rather an advance of Greece, and thinks it is impossible that any man could prefer the hunter’s age to the agricultural. I, upon the other hand, must think all civilizations equal at their best; every phase returns, therefore in some sense every civilization. I think of the hunter’s age and that which followed immediately as a time when man’s waking consciousness had not reached its present complexity and stability. There was little fear of deatch, sometimes men lay down and died at will, the world of the gods could be explored easily whether through some oriastic ceremony or in the trance of the ascetic. Apparitions came and went, bringing comfort in the midst of tragedy.” (Yeats, pp. 205-206).
Further on he wrote:
”A civilization is a struggle to keep self-control, and in this it is like some great tragic person, some Niobe who must display an almost superhuman will or the cry will not touch our sympathy. The loss of control over thought comes towards the end; first a sinking in upon the moral being, then the last surrender, the irrational cry, revelation – the screm of Juno’s peacock.”
Thus history for Yeats is personal, tragic, and heroic.
Poems of Yeats that have strong visions of the future are for instance ”The Second Coming”, ”Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” as well as ”Meditations in Time of Civil War”. Before the predicted return of past ages, the established order must ”fall apart”. Before any rebirth must be destruction.
Other poems that would need to be interpreted are ”Sailing to Byzantium” and ”Blood and the Moon” as well as ”The Gyres”.
It is no wonder that Oswald Spengler choose Heraclitus for his doctoral dissertation. The essence of The Decline of the West is that world history performs a magnificent cosmic spectacle. There is a grand harmony of perpetual struggle, of becoming and degeneration. Spengler regarded the great achievement of Heraclitus the idea of the eternal never-ending struggle. This struggle forms the essence of life in the cosmos, in which a master law governs and is upholding a harmonious, elegant proportionality. There is thus, in my opinion, a direct line between Heraclitus, Yeats and Spengler.
The question of the permanent value of Western civilization is once more under debate after the horrible crime of September 11, 2001. It coincides well with the myth of heliotropism, that civilization is moving from East to West from Babylon, via Greece, Rome, England-Scotland, Wales and Ireland, across the Atlantic to America.
Myth now is increasingly secular. The happy optimism of Enlightenment which ended in horrible slaughter in the 20th century is opposed by counter-enlightenment. World historians and futurists have not been able to avoid the pressing questions of the eternal alteration of empires: William Butler Yeats in A Vision, Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West, Arnold Toynbee in A Study of History, Mancur Olson in The Rise and Decline of Nations and lately Samuel Huntington in Clash of Civilizations.

Archibald MacLeish wrote:
”We wonder whether the great American dream
Was the singing of the locusts out of the grass to the west
And the West is behind us now:
The west wind’s away from us:
We wonder whether liberty is done:
The dreaming is finished.”
But that is not so. On what is now the global frontier the dream is alive. The West is a dream that can transform itself.