In a continuation of our invitation to debate, and in our established ‘broad-brush’ approach, we, in the Sempringham office, conclude that overall since medieval times western society has moved from an emphasis on the collective to an emphasis on the individual. This emphasis is sharply illustrated by Martin Luther’s agonies with his individual (that is personal) salvation. This new emphasis was greatly enhanced by the development of printing, a development that led to a massive increase in information and opinion and enabled individuals unmediated (by others, priests or teachers or rulers) progress in their ambition to self fulfilment. When economies were transformed by mechanisation, developments that began in Britain in the mid eighteenth century and gathered pace, self fulfilment in a religious sense (and notwithstanding Victorian religious hypocrisy) mutated, some say was hijacked, to self enhancement in the material sphere and the world of ‘getting and spending’. It is this latter ‘man-made world’, a world of physical ease and abundant possessions, that has captured the ambition of so many in traditional, less developed, societies.
Contributor: Geoff Williams. Sempringham eLearning Office.
8 October 2015