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What is the Essence of Western Civilization? (2 of 6)

- by Kelly Kinkade

       Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be able to read minds? It would be exciting, wouldn’t it? If you had the power to read minds, what would you do with it? Is there anybody’s mind you would not want to read? Probably not, but surely you would find some minds more interesting than others, right? And what if you ended up being able to communicate telepathically with some of your dearly departed relatives.

       This next point might shock you, but keep reading, and it will make sense. The power of telepathy is real. Whether you say evolution or God or Nature or aliens, something has put this power to read the thoughts of others into the human family; it is real; and you have already experienced it.

       We call this power to read minds, “conversation.” And “conversation” is the one word that captures the essence of Western civilization. Whatever trait you might like about another culture, no community can compete with the West in our tradition of conversation. The history of the West is a history of an ongoing conversation from one generation to the next. And we still connect with the thoughts of dearly departed heroes who thought great thoughts for us. No other culture can claim that its defining quality is a conversation like Western civilization can.  

       The dominant element of the Great Conversation is the Logos – a word you will hear a lot about here. But for now think of it as ideas. Since censorship is prohibition of the Great Conversation, all censorship is an attack on Logos and Western civilization.

       This is because in our civilization nothing is off limits for discussion. No idea is dismissed out of hand. Everyone is invited to speak their mind, including you. Our natural need and drive for conversation has led us to make laws protecting freedom of speech. It has led us to make technology such as movable type, the telephone, satellites, the internet, and many other Wonders of the World.

       Our Great Conversation dominates the world partly because it is the most exciting and interesting thing the world has ever heard. It also dominates the world because it benefits all cultures, whether or not they are part of the West. And in this way it is like an experience you might have had when you were young. Did you ever wake up and hear your parents or aunts and uncles or other adults talking? Maybe you started wondering what the adults talked about after they made the kids go to bed. Maybe you overheard words here and there and snuck closer to hear their secrets. Well, when something like that happens, you feel excited and confused at the same time. You hear words and ideas that you do not understand, but you know they understand what they are talking about, because it makes the adults laugh or cry, and you wanted to know why. But, you grew to understand and to share in adult conversation.

       Don’t be surprised if you feel that same excitement and confusion with what the Stoic School shares with you. After all, you will be hearing the most interesting, the most enjoyable, and the most beneficial ideas in history. That is why we call it the Great Conversation. And, these ideas will make so much sense that it will feel a little bit like we are just recalling something to your mind. It will be like déjà vu. It can be a little bit eerie, but it is just the sensation of your soul resonating as a tuning fork vibrates when it is hit by the particular vibration for which it was made, or when a particular radio signal hits an antenna that was made for that signal.

       In the next article, you will begin knowing new things about yourself and the West.

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