This article treats of Fischer’s structuralistic conception of the crisis of Western civilisation in its connections with Czech and world philosophy, sociology and politology. Modern history of the West presents a drama in the course of which crisis is followed by peripetia leading to catastrophe. Crisis is understood as a catharsis brought about by new knowledge. When it is a question of the catastrophe of civilisation – that is the disintegration of its existing form – the concept of crisis is, in Fischer’s view, misapplied. The real descent of the West was, in his view, caused by a “primitivism of viewpoint”: more precisely, a disdain towards transcendence. This initiated the dominance of “mechanism”, gradually taking upon itself the forms of the Enlightenment, Darwinism, Marxism and pragmatism. The social consequence of this primitivism is, from the end of the nineteenth century, a growth in violence and egocentric self-assertion. The twentieth century theoretically legitimised this tendency by, among other things, ‘postmodern’ ideology. The actual catastrophe of the West is, however, in its current form, the result of a democratism conceived in a liberal way which, utilising the formalised ideas of Freedom and Rights, masks individualistic abuses and the abuses of narrow interest groups. The dominance of the “new primitivism”, which destabilises the social whole, can be countered only by the revival of the idea of democracy as respect for expertise – with emphasis on the permanent political engagement of competent social subjects. The civilizational catastrophe of the West can be checked only by an overall socio-political intervention which will defend general social interests.
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