Until the Papal Revolution, cultural evolution was largely symmetric in the Christian East and West. (The schism between the Church of Rome and the Eastern churches took place in 1054, and the division was cemented only after the Latin crusaders’ conquest of Constantinople in the thirteenth century.)
The Eastern, or Orthodox, culture also rested on the same three strata—Greek, Roman, and JudeoChristian—although even before the official separation, the Eastern and Western churches embraced different mixtures of or placed different emphases on these strata. What differentiates Eastern Christianity from Western Christianity in Nemo’s view is its undervaluation of men’s temporal action and its lack of emphasis on human reason and progress.
To illustrate the difference between western Europe (and its extra-European cultural colonies) and eastern Europe, he singles out a famous passage in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov in which the Great Inquisitor (a metaphor for the Catholic Church) condemns to death Jesus Christ, who happens to be on a second coming to the earth, because his religious pathos threatens to disturb the peaceful and happy existence to which the people have become accustomed since his first coming.
In the parable, Jesus Christ embodies what Dostoyevsky considers to be the heroic and authentic faith of the Christian Orthodox, but for Nemo it simply proves the Orient’s deep-seated skepticism and contempt of reason and its over-valuation of the transcendent.
The last stage in the morphogenesis of Western culture, according to Nemo, is the creation and promotion of modern liberal democracy, beginning with the English Revolution in the seventeenth century and developed further by the American Revolution and the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century and by the Italian Risorgimento and similar events all over Europe and elsewhere in the nineteenth century.