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POLONICA SERIES

No 2

edited by Jędrzej Giertych

ON THE PLURALITY

OF CIVILISATIONS
by

FELIKS KONECZNY



Translated from the Polish

Introduction

by

ANTON HILCKMAN



Professor at the University of Mainz (Germany)

Preface


by

ARNOLD TOYNBEE

LONDON 1962

POLONICA PUBLICATIONS


First Published 1962

by

POLONICA PUBLICATIONS



16. Belmont Road, London, N.15. England

© Polonica Publications

Originally published in Polish in 1935 in Cracow

by Gebethner i Wolf under the title “O wielości cywilizacyj’


CONTENTS




POLONICA SERIES 1

No 2 1


edited by Jędrzej Giertych 1

ON THE PLURALITY 1

OF CIVILISATIONS 1

Translated from the Polish 1

CONTENTS 2

PREFACE 5

by 5

Arnold Toynbee 5



PUBLISHERS’ PREFACE 7

by 7


Jędrzej Giertych 7

INTRODUCTION 10

by Anton Hilckman 10

FELIKS KONECZNY 15

AND THE COMPARATIVE SCIENCE OF CIVILISATION 15

by Anton Hilckman 15

THE MODERN ROAD OF PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 15

ON WHAT IS CIVILISATION BASED? — THE QUINCUNX OF EXISTENTIAL VALUES 17

THE CENTRAL PROBLEM OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY: 19

WHERE DOES THE DIFFERENCE OF CIVILISATIONS COME FROM? 19

CIVILISATIONS AND RELIGIONS. 19

ARE THE CIVILISATIONS PRODUCTS OF RELIGIONS? 19

CHRISTIANITY AND CIVILISATION 20

THE POSITIVE ANSWER: THE PRINCIPAL FACTORS OF DIFFERENTIATION OF CIVILISATIONS 23

LAWS OF HISTORY 25

THE ONLY LAW OF HISTORY: CAUSALITY AND FINALITY 26

EAST, WEST, ROME AND BYZANTIUM. TURAN. THE PRESSURE OF THE EAST UPON THE WEST. GERMANY 27

CHAPTER I 31

FROM BACON TO MAJEWSKI 31

I INTRODUCTION 31

II A NOTE ON KOŁŁĄTAJ 47

(Substantially abridged) 47

CHAPTER II 50

NUCLEI OF ALL CULTURE 50

I FIRE 50

II DOMESTIC ANIMALS 54

III THE OLDEST ASSOCIATIONS 61

IV NUCLEI OF TRADITION 68

V PREHISTORIC ECONOMY 71

CHAPTER III 78

THE TRIPLE LAW 78

I NOMENCLATURE 78

II THE FIVE TYPES OF CLAN 79

III FAMILY LAW 86

IV PROPERTY LAW 92

V CLAN LAW AND THE TRIPLE LAW 96

CHAPTER IV 101

ASSOCIATIONS AND SYSTEMS 101

I SYSTEM IN THE QUINCUNX OF SOCIETY 101

II NATURAL ETHICS 104

III THE CONDITION OF COMMENSURABILITY 108

IV WHAT IS CIVILISATION? 112

V HOMO FABER 117

CHAPTER V 121

CIVILISATION AND RACE 121

I RACIAL MIXTURE 121

II WHAT RACES ARE THERE? 125

III THE SO-CALLED SOCIOLOGICAL RACES 130

IV PSYCHOLOGICAL RESULTS OF CROSSING 135

V THE SO-CALLED HIERARCHY OF RACES 138

VI RESULTS 142

CHAPTER VI 144

CIVILISATION AND LANGUAGE 144

I NOMENCLATURE 144

II MULTIPLICITY AND DISAPPEARANCE OF LANGUAGES 145

III WEALTH AND POVERTY 150

IV UNEQUAL CAPACITY 153

V RELATIONSHIP TO COMMUNAL MENTALITY 157

VI CONCLUSIONS 160

CHAPTER VII 163

CIVILISATION AND RELIGION 163

I INTRODUCTORY REMARKS 163

II JUDAISM 165

III BRAHMINISM 170

IV BUDDHISM 172

V ISLAM 174

VI ORIENTAL CHRISTIANITY 177

VII CATHOLICISM 180

VIII SUMMARY 184

CHAPTER VIII 188

ATTEMPTED SYSTEMATIZATION 188

I PROVISO 188

II CONTROL OF TIME 190

III PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LAW 193

IV ETHICS AND LAW 197

V NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS 201

VI TENTATIVE SYSTEMATIZATION 205

VII CHANCES AND SYNTHESES 207

VIII CONCLUSION 211

INDEX 214


PREFACE

by

Arnold Toynbee

Polonica Publications have done a service to the study of human affairs in publishing the recent English translation of Feliks Koneczny’s greatest work. It is one of several mutually independent studies of the structure of human affairs on the largest scale that have appeared in different parts of the Western World within the last two generations. Koneczny published the original Polish edition of this book after he had turned seventy, and he had the leisure to write it because he had been compulsorily retired from his chair as a penalty for having been outspoken in the cause of civic freedom. In short compass, Koneczny has discussed the fundamental questions raised by the study of civilizations, and he arrives at definite and valuable conclusions. After sketching the structure of society, he considers and rejects the thesis that differences in civilization are byproducts of differences in physical race. Indeed, he rejects the suggestion that these physical differences are in any way correlated with the spiritual ones. Turning to language, he does conclude that different languages are of unequal value for serving as vehicles for civilisations, but he refrains from taking these qualitative differences between different languages as being the explanation of the differences that he finds in the spiritual value of different civilizations. Turning to religion, he insists on the mutual independence of the “higher” religions and the civilizations.

Koneczny believed in the possibility, and value, of a general study of human affairs. His own important contribution to this was the crown of his life-work as an historian. He approached his generalisations from the four standpoints of a student of East European and Central Asian history, a Pole, a Roman Catholic Christian, and a Westerner. Since the tenth century, Poland has been one of the eastern marches of the Western World. Koneczny’s specialist studies as an historian worked together with his national heritage as a Pole to make him sensitive to the differences between civilizations, and this inspired him to study the sum of human history from the standpoint of the plurality of civilizations. It also made him an ardent patriot of the Western World. This did not prevent Koneczny from being also a patriotic Pole and a devout Roman Catholic Christian. But, for him, Poland’s national culture has value as one of a number of national versions of a common Western or, as he prefers to call it, Latin culture; and Roman Catholic Christianity has value as being the Western form of Christianity par excellence.

This has made Koneczny generous-minded towards Protestants. He sees in them, not dissenters from the Catholic fold but Western Christians who, in ceasing to be Catholics, have continued to be Western, fortunately for the West and for themselves. The same standpoint has made it difficult for Koneczny to appreciate Eastern Orthodox, Monophysite, and Nestorian Christianity and the non-Christian higher religions. He appreciates Ancient Rome perhaps excessively, to the detriment of Ancient Greece. And he is hard on both the Byzantine and the Turanian (i.e. the Eurasian nomad) civilization. He classifies the civilization of Muscovite Russia as being Turanian; but, if Russia had been classified by him as being Byzantine, she probably would not have fared much better.

Every student of human affairs, however eminent, is a child of his own social and cultural environment, besides being a unique personality with his own individual outlook on the Universe. He is limited, besides being stimulated, by his own particular historical standing-ground, which has been imposed on him by the accident that he has been born at a particular date in a particular place. Naturally, Koneczny’s highly individual approach to his work is partly conditioned — like for instance, Danilevsky’s and Spengler’s and Vico’s — by his cultural environment. It is fortunate that there should have been a number of thinkers wrestling with the same problem from different standing-grounds in time and space. It is also fortunate that one of these voices should have been a Polish voice, since Poland has a word to say to the present-day West, as Mr. Giertych points out in the Publisher’s Preface to the present English translation of Koneczny’s major work.

Koneczny achieved all that he did achieve in a life that was stormy and tragic yet long. This Polish thinker’s personal history is an epitome of the Polish nation’s history. ‘Indomitable’ is the adjective that the name ‘Poland’ calls up in non-Polish minds.

This foreword can, and should, be brief, because the Publisher’s Preface, together with the illuminating introduction by my friend and colleague Professor Anton Hilckman, are all that is required for introducing Koneczny’s work to the English-reading public.



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