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Man is the measure of all things Man is the measure of all things
by Nikos Laios
2020-10-07 09:54:17
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It’s the start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of spring in Australia and we’re fast approaching the end quarter of the year, and what a year it has been! A world ravaged by a pandemic started in China, social upheaval in the US, democracy being challenged around the world, extremism thriving, dictators and autocrats emboldened, and the European Union found to be wanting and weak in the face of a vulgar imperialist Neo-Ottomanism, and disunited against outside threats - torn apart by the individual agendas and selfish needs of member states.  Religious extremism is on the rise, as are violent acts of hatred against women and minorities around the world.


I have lived much and seen much and have followed the flow of the events of modern history with the great keen interest of a student of history, but I despair at the moment at what I am seeing around our world. Indeed it is naïve to be idealistic and to harbour a hope and a positive vision of what humanity could be and what life on this planet could be, but hope and idealism is all that we have left.  

The ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Protagoras once stated that ‘man is the measure of all things’, and this first humanist ideal born in Greece became the bedrock in the foundation of European and western culture and civilisation. Yet here in the west – and here I specifically refer to the US and the Anglo-Saxon world – has made a mess of this legacy by the rejection of the universal truths of the Enlightenment by a backwards and vulgar personal subjectivism through relativism and particularism. Where the outcome is the cancerous movements of the far left and the far right. In Europe as well, the intelligentsia is in chaos at the moment, rabid in either expressing their views of the world through the prism of left-wing or right-wing views. The anachronistic and redundant left-right dichotomy that divided the world for most of the 20th Century still unfortunately influencing the minds of the media and great thinkers; and the universal humanist truths of the Enlightenment have been cast aside.

That there are starving people in this world, that there are homeless and displaced people, that there are disillusioned and lonely people in cities and towns in the Western World, or a hyper-religious Middle East, and a selfish and materialistic China wanting to swallow all in its path, or a US rejecting its role as a good world citizen is a sad incitement on the progress of civilisation on this planet.

This writer can think of nothing more odious and abhorrent firstly than a rejection by educated people in the west of the universal humanist truths that have been the success of Western civilisation, and the acceptance of a post-modernism that is ripping apart the fabric of Democracies around the world. Yet also nothing is sadder than the complete subservience of man’s free-will to an invisible god and the rejection of truths and choice; as expressed by Islam, fundamentalist Christianity, and many other fundamentalist religions around the world.

That the west has produced the most successful civilisations on the planet is no mistake, and when the Greek philosopher Protagoras stated some 2,500 years ago that man is the measure of all things, the world changed forever and only by returning to that truth can mankind hope to turn around the progress of this unhappy world. The answers lie not in anachronistic beliefs that belong in the dark ages, but only through the unity of all mankind by placing man again at the very centre of life!


All photos, included the Cover Page by Nikos Laios


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