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Less existential concerns, it’s about works of art and the philosophy and science. Would the Western Hemisphere created if the Greek civilization had never existed? “Society would be less reflective and rational. We would live only faith-based,” says José Leonardo Nascimento, a professor at the Paulista State University. Imagine a situation like this is not easy. After all, the Greek influence in the West is deep and wide. On the other hand, think of this event only the Greeks out of the picture. Thanks to them, as the intellectual reflection was born among them and there is no doubt that this is their greatest legacy.
Men’s awareness about themselves and about the phenomena around them not only occurred in Greece, but it was there that, by virtue of a culture dedicated to the human figure, have developed rational explanations such as mathematics, medicine and philosophy, “said Donaldo Schuller, professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul; for him, the basis of all human restlessness comes from this process of rationalization of nature.” the sixth century BC the Greeks abandoned the metaphysical and spiritual solutions in the world and they sought rational explanations for the events that influenced their lives. This is the beginning of science as we know it. Therefore, without the Greeks, no one would be racking their brains trying to know, what would be the death of any philosophical revolution,” says Schüller.
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The anthropocentrism – Greek word meaning “man as the center of everything” – is another heritage of their people. According to José Leonardo Nascimento, this concept was central to the definition of Western thought, influencing many areas of knowledge, arts and religions. An original and unique idea.
For all its importance on the ancient world, Greek culture and its influences were dormant during the Middle Ages, when religious and mystical feeling prevailed. “Think of a world devoid of Greek influence is thinking about the Middle Ages to the Renaissance,” said Nascimento.
Men’s measuring (anthropometrism) of their features and expressions, have been used in the plastic arts and to serve as a reference for our mythological and religious creations, “said Nascimento. If the idea of representing the man as he did not exist, the arts would, instead, be populated by very distant manifestations of the real, as the colossal Egyptian works. Imagine this trend applied in architecture. We would have monumental constructions, appropriate to the dimensions of the gods and not to the man.
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It is hard to imagine what would be the Western arts without all the classic reference. “Without Greece, dullness would be the senses of culture,” says Nascimento. “With the standard Egyptian art, for example, our imagination would be filled with colossal figures with divine animal and appearance,” he explains.
In addition to the arts, this way of seeing the world was definitive in the fields of science and religion. Doctors of Christianity, as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, merged Greek thought to the religious foundations. With no Greek influence, Christianity would be much more austere, less inclined to syncretism and, above all, without the figures of saints. Without the classical philosophy, Christianity would be little more than a neo Judaica sect.
For Professor Schüller, Western people would be something else. The consciousness about ourselves, our fears, traumas and desires, too. Freud would probably have another job. The man confronting his limits is a Greek invention.