12 avril 2017

The human epic



THE HUMAN EPIC
by Roger GARAUDY
Iran - 1980

Why "THE HUMAN EPIC"?

Because it is the first 'décentralised' universal history of civilisation - in other words a history in which the West is no longer the centre and origin of all thought and all art. On the contrary ....
It rings the death-knell of Western dominance.
It is the epic of the great moments of humanity, the great lost opportunities, the great flowerings of civilisation, its tragedies and its re-births.
It is also a search for unity, for the possibility of dialogue between civilisations - a whole programme for the future : to restore to culture its true purpose : that of changing men's lives and giving them meaning.


The HUMAN EPIC : a controversial book

It will come as a severe shock, in the West, to learn that :
. Athenian democracy meant 40,000 free citizens and one hundred and ten thousand slaves !
. Western culture means the culture of Europe, the only part of the world that has never given birth to a great religion !
. The Roman Empire added nothing fundamentally new to culture, philosophy, literature or the arts !
. The Renaissance was above all the simultaneous birth of capitalism and colonialism.. of the cult of growth and the cult of power... of the most ghastly attack on humanity in which a hundred million blacks were wiped out by the slave trade !
. The Cathari of Occitania represented the permanent prophetic fire of the Gospel against a bellicose and mercantile Church !
And so we could go on ...


The HUMAN EPIC : a book full of love

Garaudy quotes from humanity's finest poems - from the Upanishads and from Buddha in India, from Zoroaster the Persian, from Isaiah the Hebrew, from Heracleitus the Greek and from Lao-tzu and Confucius in China... to name but a few.


A book full of hope

Evoking world problems, Roger Garaudy suggests world-wide solutions. He rises above our contemporary dilemmas. He transcends them. He carries the reader with him to a realm in which man not merely survives but lives. This book contains Garaudy’s whole new
aesthetic and political programme ; it contains his whole essence…it is the book he has most enjoyed writing.


A richly illustrated book

It is the first of Roger Garaudy's books to be richly and abundantly illustrated. It has more than 350 pictures – chosen from among thousands - which speak for themselves, eloquently and convincingly.
Why so many pictures in relation to the text ? Because a picture, a reproduction of a work of art, is both more and better than a long speech. Beauty has to be looked at, it cannot be expressed only in words.


To what readership is the book directed ?

To the widest possible public :
Especially :
. To people in the West, young people particularly , who are looking for new paths which go beyond the West.
. To all Garaudy's existing readers - both those who expect new ideas from him, and those who disagree with him.
. To àll lovers of art in the widest sense.
. Those who, already possessing a certain culture, have been limited by "classical prejudice" to a Western view; they will find wider horizons here.
. But also to those whose cultural background is sketchy : they will find here an admirable basic text that will stimulate and enrich their whole cultural outlook.
. Above all, to all those who, from India to America, from Black Africa to the Arab World, would like a universal view of civilisations and are ready to fight for living dialogue between them.

 
Extract from "Comment l'homme devint humain", Ed J.A., 1979
April 1968,Martin Luther King is assassinated.


THE HUMAN EPIC 

To buy the book (in french)
Contents

OVERTURE : THE BIRTH OF MAN

I. - THE CRADLES AND EARLY NETWORKS OF CIVILISATION
a) Mesopotamia.
b) The Nile Valley.
G) The Indus Valley,
d) China.
The attack from the steppes.

II. - THE GOLDEN CENTURY OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT (the 6th century B.C.)
a) The India of the Upanishads and the Buddha.
b) The Persia of Zoroaster.
c) The China of Lao-tzu and Confucius.
d) The prophets of Israel: Ezekiel and Isaiah.
e) The Greece of Pythagorus and Heracleitus.
f) America: the Olmec and Chavin civilisations.
g) Afirica : the Nok civilisation.

III. -THE FIRST SECESSION OF THE WEST
a) The Birth of Greek culture.
b) The city - state, individualism and reason.
c) From the Empire of Alexander to the Roman Empire.
d) The birth of Christianity (from the l st to the 4th century).

IV.THE INDIA OF THE GUPTAS (the 3re to the 8th century)
a) Gupta art.
b) Gupta poetry.
c) The Indian mystique.

V. THE CHINA OF THE SUNG (960-1279)
a) Ch'an Buddhism.
b) Chinese science and technology.
c) Sung poetry.
d) Sung painting.
e) Sung architecture.

VI.- THE SPREAD OF ISLAM (the 7th to the 12th century)
a) The prophet Muhammed and the stages of Arab expansion.
b) The Iranian heritage.
c) The byzantine heritage.
d) The arts of Islam: the mosque, the miniature.
e) Muslim science.

VII.-FROM 'CHRISTIANITY' TO THE WESTERN 'RENAISSANCE' OF THE 16TH CENTURY
a) From Constantine to the Çrusades : the second secession of the West.
b) The struggle àgainst the Constantinian System:
. Joachim of Flore
. Saint Francis of Assisi
. Meister Eckhardt.
c) Romanesque and Gothic art.

VIII.- THE LAST LOST OPPORTUNITIES
a) America before the Indian genocide:
• Mayas
. Aztecs
. Incas.
b) Africa before the slave trade.
c) Japan before Commodore Perry.

IX.- THE 'RENAISSANCE' AND WESTERN HEGEMONY (the I6th to the 20th century)
a) The "Faustian  model and its assumptions.
b) Western man as revealed i n western art.
c) The révolutions of the West.
d) Western science and technology: the stages :
. mechanics and the steam engine .(Dëscartes and
the 17th and I8th centuries)
. oil and electricity (the 19th century)
. the atom and cybernetics (the 20th century).
e) The impasses to Western hegemony.

CONCLUSION : Through a dialogue between civilisations mankind can survive and live.

>> A SUIVRE ICI/ TO BE CONTINUED HERE(IN FRENCH)>>
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Nazim Hikmet, poète communiste turc (1901-1963), traduit par son ami Garaudy