22 - Europe: core and peripheries
Post #12 shows a map identifying three core areas of Europe with transition zones in between. This map here has a different approach to European cultural diversity.
On the one hand, it posits a contiguous cultural core – roughly correspondent, coincidentally with Charlemagne’s empire (plus a swathe of England and Scandinavia) – and with the original European Community (the three Benelux countries, West Germany, France and Italy).
On the other hand, it describes some parts of Europe as less ‘European’ than this core by quoting several writers, artists and thinkers (from the ‘core’, obviously):
Ireland: “That savage nation” (Edmund Spenser)
Brittany: “Wild and primitive” (Paul Gauguin); “Frankly pagan” (J. Cameron)
Spain: “Africa begins at the Pyrennees” (Alexandre Dumas); “Outside the southern door of Europe proper” (James Michener)
Corsica: “Still savages” (Alexandre Dumas)
Sardinia: “Rejected European civilisation” (P. Nichols)
Sicily: “Stagnant and backward” (L. Barzini)
Mezzogiorno (southern Italy): (L. Barzini)
Albania: “Savage character” (Lord Byron)
Bulgaria: “A mongrel east” (A. Symons)
Greece: “All the Turkish vices” (Lord Byron)
Istanbul: “Damn her, the whore! Sleeping with the Turks” (A. Kazantzakis)
Cyprus: “East in west and west in east” (P. Geddes)
Ukraine: “A decided Oriental kink in their brains” (British Foreign Office)
Poland: “Advanced outpost of Western civilisation” (Joseph Conrad)
Russia: “Scratch a Russian and you will wound a Tartar” (Napoleon)
Finland: “Fierce and uncivilised” (M. Pitts)
Sadly, as I’ve downloaded this map a long time ago and (again) didn’t make a note of the origin, I can’t say much about the context. However, the use of highlighter seems to indicate that it was made in a school environment…
The ‘present core’ of Europe (“Where defining traits are strongest”) is highlighted in red. Green is used to highlight some boundaries of these traits – and it all seems to boil down to the limits of Christianity versus Islam and paganism (Arab rule in Spain, Turkish rule in the Balkans, Christianity in the north about 1030, Christianity in the south at present) – making the point that ‘European’ actually is synonymous with ‘Christian’. Which is a controversial point – recall the debate about the EU Constitution not mentioning Christianity as a ‘core European trait’.
The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
- Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
- Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
- Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
- Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.
- Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
- This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
- Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.
- Literature expands our ability to feel empathy and inspires compassion.
- These 10 novels tackle some facet of the American experience.
- The list includes a fictional retelling of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, and hiding out in inner-city Newark.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.