„It is impossible to understand the graveness of the Western crisis unless we realize that the cultivation of values beyond Littré's formula of civilization as the dominion of man over nature and himself by means of science is considered by broad sectors of Western society to be a kind of mental deficiency.“

— Eric Voegelin, Context: The criterion of integral sanity [for Littré] is the acceptance of Positivism in its first stage. The criteria of decadence or decline are (1) a faith in transcendental reality, whether it expresses itself in the Christian form or in that of a substitute religion, (2) the assumption that all human faculties have a legitimate urge for public expression in a civilization, and (3) the assumption that love can be a legitimate guiding principle of action, taking precedence before reason. This diagnosis of mental deficiency is of an importance which can hardly be exaggerated. It is not the isolated diagnosis of Littré; it is rather the typical attitude toward the values of Western civilization which has continued among "intellectual positivists" from the time of Mill and Littré down to the neo-Positivistic schools of the Viennese type. Moreover, it has not remained confined to the schools but has found popular acceptance to such a degree that this variant of Positivism is today one of the most important mass movements. It is impossible to understand the graveness of the Western crisis unless we realize that the cultivation of values beyond Littré's formula of civilization as the dominion of man over nature and himself by means of science is considered by broad sectors of Western society to be a kind of mental deficiency. p. 139

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Eric Voegelin2
1901 - 1985
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