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Submitted by Marcin Bąk on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 09:17
"The Light of the West" by Bartosz Jastrzębski

At the end of 2019, Bartosz Jastrzębski's book "The Light of the West" was published by the Count August Cieszkowski Foundation.

The author, a philosopher lecturing at the University of Wrocław, has been writing texts on the cultural foundations of our civilization for years, with particular emphasis on Christianity, as the component that ultimately shaped the West. His articles appear, among others, in "Political Theology", the Wacław Felczak Institute August published texts by the Wrocław thinker on Central Europe, the spiritual condition of our continent and the relationship between religion, law and philosophy.

"The Light of the West" is just such a juxtaposition of reflections on our past and the place where the European civilization finds itself today. As befits a thinker from the school of Aristotle and St. Thomas, the author tries to define and describe reliably what the matter is that he is dealing with. So we have a "Where is the West? What is the West?" part in the book, analysing quite scrupulously  the three powerful pillars on which the Latin civilization is (still) based - Greek philosophy with its search for the Truth, Roman Law and Christian religions, which in the West is represented by the institution of the Catholic Church.

In the book we will find reflections on the relationship between Faith and Reason, this particular bond which has created the only and unique civilisation on our continent. A civilisation whose two "beacons" were a cathedral and a university. Apart from Faith and Reason, the third, extremely important element of our heritage is Freedom. Freedom understood in this way does not have in its set of notions other great civilizations, created by man. What is Freedom? What was it for the builders of Western civilizations:

"On the other hand, the exaggerated creative freedom results in a terrifying overproduction of everything, in which all the right measure and responsibility for the work is lost. Understood as "the right to do everything that does not violate the autonomy and self-expression of others", freedom is a great myth, a golden, or rather carelessly gilded, legend of the modern West".

 Ecology seems to be the domain of various left-wing organizations. Bartosz Jastrzębski, not for the first time in his texts, raises in "The Light of the West" the issue of a conservative, Christian approach to the "green" issues, well established in philosophical texts and in the Scriptures themselves.

Reading "The Light of the West" can lead the reader through a labyrinth of philosophical concepts to find at the end of the road an old, well known and only slightly forgotten world. The reader may experience the same feeling as the sailor described in Chesterton's "Orthodoxy", who sailed to New South Wales to find out, after a long voyage, that the place he came to was old, good Wales.



Bartosz Jastrzębski, "Light of the West" Count August Cieszkowski Foundation Warsaw 2019