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The Triumph of Intermediary Communities: The Completeness of the Community and the Incompleteness of the Individual
This early medieval world – populated by very few inhabitants, scored with perennial political and social disorder, gnawed at by the constant pangs of hunger, lorded over by untamed nature, and afflicted, as we have seen, by a deep-seated lack of faith in the collective – could not help but have a profound effect at an anthropological level, that is to say on the position and role of mankind in the physical and historical world. One can, therefore, observe the medieval individual’s lack of self-sufficiency and his natural imperfection, his need to bury himself in the bosom of a hospitable and protective community. In a confused and conflict-ridden social reality which lacks the reassurance of a complete political power, the individual has no means of existing peacefully. He will gain it, as we shall see, only with the advent of modernity, when state and individual lives in an arrangement of perfect symbiosis and reciprocity.