Feliks Koneczny’s theory of civilization and the collapse of Europe
The Old Continent is suffering from a deadly illness, an illness of helplessness. Millions of immigrants have come to Europe, mainly from the Middle East and Africa. Other millions are standing at Europe’s gates. In many Western countries small Muslim minorities will soon become large politically influential minorities. For many years the elites, lacking in common sense, have propagated a model of a multicultural society on our continent. As it is, in return for altruism and goodwill, Europeans have been receiving violence and death in terrorist attacks. A clash of civilizations is being fought in London, Hamburg, Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam. Europe has lost its spirit and the warrior ethos, which it was formerly known for.
We can only look back at the days when, in 1683, the coalition of Christian troops under the command of Polish King John III Sobieski defeated the invading Turkish army at the Battle of Vienna and defended Europe against Islam. Those soldiers were imbued with an invincible spirit of their heritage. Polish historian Feliks Koneczny (pictured), creator of an original theory of civilization, wrote about the role of the human spirit in history. European and American readers are familiar with Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations?”, while the Polish scholar worked out his theory much earlier. Some experts say that Huntington drew on Koneczny’s thought.1)
Feliks Koneczny believed that the human spirit is the fundamental factor which gives rise to religion, language or technology. For example, the Latin civilization is made up of British, Polish or Spanish cultures. Civilization, a term broader than culture, is a way of collective life which to be perpetuated must work for at least a few generations. The historian posited that at present there are seven civilizations: Arab, Byzantine, Brahmin, Chinese, Latin, Turanian and Jewish (as well as Tibetan and Numidian in the residual phase). He defined five civilization building blocks: good and truth (spiritual constituents), health and well-being (material constituents), which are combined by beauty. People perceive these five concepts differently, so naturally they form such associations whose common denominator is the same understanding of them.
The Latin civilization originated in Western and Central Europe and was transferred to the Americas. It draws on the Greek understanding of the objective truth (science), Roman law and Christian morality. This civilization seeks to ensure the greatest possible public participation in the governance of the state by each individual and values his personal freedom highly. It accepts the superiority of ethics over law. The law itself is split in public and private law. Even politics and warfare are subordinated to ethical requirements.
Europe is different now from what it was during Koneczny’s lifetime (1862-1949). A long period of prosperity and consumerism, a carefree life without war, plus Neo-Marxist ideology have led to the fall of the European spirit.
Apart from the Latin, we also have the Turanian civilization, which originated in Eurasian steppes. Genghis Khan’s Empire belonged to it as well as peoples of Afghanistan, the Turks, Russians and Cossacks (Ukrainians). This civilization’s peculiarity is its military-like social structure since, in order to exist, it must conquer lands. A sovereign is above the law and all citizens are within his ownership. Religion is not autonomous from the state; science is not in high demand.
Next we have the Byzantine civilization, where religion is dependent on the state which has an all-embracing influence on all areas of life. This civilization didn’t end with the fall of the Empire of Constantine the Great: it was adopted in Germany at the turn of 9th and 10th centuries due to the influence of Empress Theophano (956-991), a niece of the Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimiskes. Koneczny believed that the Byzantine civilization had a negative influence on the countries of Western Europe, through bureaucracy, and elimination of ethics from collective life.
The scholar defines the Jewish civilization as sacral because all life of an individual and community is subordinated to religious law. Its distinctive characteristic is the consciousness of being chosen, which paved the way for double moral standards towards Jews and Gentiles. What’s interesting is that the historian considers the ideology of the Third Reich as an example of the Jewish concept of chosenness being adopted by the Germans.
Europe is the place where the Latin is being undermined by the Byzantine, Turanian and Jewish civilizations. Koneczny didn’t predict the threat from the Arab civilization. He believed that civilization is only vital when it seeks to expand. If it stops expanding, it begins to fall. Healthy civilizations do not want to mingle with others; contrarily, they tend to suppress others and replace them. Expansion may be militant or peaceful by means of propagating one’s own style of life and mass migration, like the settlement of the Americas centuries ago.
Immigrants coming now to Europe don’t play the role the settlers in America once did. They do not create new values, build buildings, roads, cities or provide capital and new ideas. They are predominantly interested in economic benefit. Current migration into the US and Europe is incomparable with the European migration to the predominantly empty land in Australia and the Americas. The economic and social superiority of the European and American societies is luring today’s Third World migrants. Permanence of civilization is determined by the consistency and compatibility of its values, which makes it resistant to foreign influences. Koneczny said: “never and nowhere is it possible to be civilized by two methods”. According to the Polish scholar, a synthesis of civilizations is impossible. Attempts to combine different ways of life create a mixture but never a new civilization. Mixed civilizations are unable to develop because they are torn by internal contradictions.
Both in relation to nations and civilizations, artificial unities are doomed to failure. Nations come into being on their own and develop a community spirit, common will and tradition shared by their members. That is why there wasn’t a Yugoslavian or a Soviet nation, but, contrarily both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia broke up along national lines. Internal cultural contradictions caused the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Czechs and Slovaks didn’t want to live in one country. Catalans wants to leave Spain. There are many conflicts in multinational, multiracial and multicultural India and South Africa. On the other hand, divided nations tend to unite. Case in point: reunification of Germany and Vietnam. We may be sure that one of these days Taiwan will be reunited with China, and North and South Korea will eventually merge.
In “On the Plurality of Civilizations” by Feliks Koneczny, we can find arguments and explanations concerning the current difficult situation in Europe. The influx of immigrants is the Old Continent’s death. The European Union as a mixture of the Latin, the Byzantine and the Jewish civilizations, currently exposed to the Arab onslaught, has no chance of surviving. At least, that is what we can learn from Feliks Koneczny’s work.
ER recommends other articles by Gefira.org
- Feliks Koneczny, O wielości cywilizacji.
- Piotr Bezat, Teoria cywilizacji Feliksa Konecznego.
- Feliks Koneczny, Wikipedia
- Bizantynizm niemiecki,Wikipedia
- Maciej Giertych, Wojna cywlizacji w Europie
- Ireneusz Białkowski, Profesor Feliks Koneczny jako prekursor nauki o cywilizacjach, 2009