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Old Jul 2nd 2015, 11:52 AM
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Default Re: What is modern?

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It's largely agreed, by the way, that the Pyramid builders were not slaves, as such.
Which particular pyramid builders are you referring to? Egyptian, Central American or Southeast Asian?
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Old Jul 3rd 2015, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: What is modern?

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Which particular pyramid builders are you referring to? Egyptian, Central American or Southeast Asian?
Egyptian.
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Old Jul 6th 2015, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: What is modern?

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...What really separates those two periods isn't necessarily anything physical. Instead what seperates the 18th century from the 14th century is a general optimism about the capacities of the human being and our future. What defines modern is a belief in progress. The means and reasons for that progress certainly differed depending on who you talked to, but overall society had this belief that because of X (science, reason, God, and/or whatever) things where going to get better. This fundamental belief was certainly not around in 14th century.
I'm reading some early medieval history books while on vacation and I stumbled across this little gem:

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Historians have long been puzzled as to why landlords of the Middle Ages proved so much more enterprising than the landlords of the Roman Empire, although the latter, by and large, were much better educated, had much better opportunities for making technical and scientific discoveries if they had wished to do so.
This is the in the context of 11th/12th century western Europe. That is to say, medieval landlords were optimistic and engaged in systematic improvements. One need look no further than the monastic order of the Cistercians in the 11th century to see a bunch of guys working their butts off to improve anything they could, using a variety of technological and scientific solutions.

Kind of makes one wonder if our working definition of 'modern' isn't.
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Old Jul 7th 2015, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: What is modern?

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This is the in the context of 11th/12th century western Europe. That is to say, medieval landlords were optimistic and engaged in systematic improvements. One need look no further than the monastic order of the Cistercians in the 11th century to see a bunch of guys working their butts off to improve anything they could, using a variety of technological and scientific solutions.

Kind of makes one wonder if our working definition of 'modern' isn't.
I think there are several qualititative differences between the 11th century and the 17th century:

1) hope for the future and a general sense of optimism are two different things. The 17th century had an almost dogmatic faith that the prospects for the world WOULD get better. The 11th century monks might have had a belief that the world could be better if they tried, but they had no dogmatic assertions that it would be

2) A huge difference is that the 17th century had not just an optimistic belief in the improvement of the world, but also an optimistic belief in the very nature of the human being. This optimistic belief in human nature was just not present in the 11th century. Christian theology was still dominant. To put this another way: in the 11th century the human being was still viewed as sinful in his/her's essential being, but the 17th century viewed the human being as an essentially morally good being with unlimited capabilities. That is a huge difference.
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