A Materialistic New Form of Individualistic Egalitarianism
The previous intimate connection between society and culture and between religion and nature was greatly weakened. Economic development based on new technology could accelerate in the towns where egalitarian citizens could form communes where efficiency and measurable economic gain were more important than fixed hierarchies and monopolies based on inherited status. Materialistic Science as an ideology was able to flourish once observed regularities in Nature could be conceptually separated from personal identity which was previously integrated with natural, social and spiritual forces.
In Europe the gradual growth of trading, manufacturing, usurious banking and the expanded use of coinage in such Italian cities as Venice, Milan and Florence began to influence the way value was assigned to human actions. The mass production of identical coins inspired a whole new technology. Rational calculation expressed in digital terms replaced the analogues of empathetic intuition. The Church adopted complex measurements of degrees of sin and salvation and even accepted material gifts to improve access to immortal rewards. Compulsory feudal obligations which the Church previously opposed as contrary to their doctrine of individual freedom and egalitarianism increased and the classical revival of the Renaissance further strengthened the power of the rising merchant class and their bankers.
Amongst Protestants no longer under theological control by the Papacy the qualities of reciprocity and voluntarism, fundamental precepts of Christianity, were seriously weakened and assertive egalitarianism of a more political and less loving nature was strengthened. Calvinists in particular believed that signs of salvation was limited to a small elite and could be seen in strenuous hard work and honest but ruthless business practice and material success.