19280, Do you need help coming out?|
Posted by Solarus, Sat Jan-20-01 08:24 AM
I wasn't going to say anything but you really dug yourself into a hole. WHOAH!!
>I'm not trying to universalize
>wrong-doing. What would be the
>point of that since its
>obvious every society has it?
What you universalize are meaning and reasons for why things occur. Parallel actions may happen but were they done with the same intent? Considering that culture values and meanings are different to automatically say certain things were the same is unwise. For example: you said,
>believe Egypt, China, the Aztecs
>or any other "civilization" would
>have perfected their oppression machines
>like Westerners if they had
>had the chance to.
What? Egypt was the dominant culture of its time and lasted for more than 4000 years (well beyond that but this is only according to Western scholarship). When did they ever try to conquer of cultures? Did they ever try to conquer the Greeks who were obviously inexperienced to the world? That is a statement endemic of a Western mind as it tries to universalize Western mentality onto others only to show that "Hey we all would do it." There by making statements like these possible:
>has taken the destructive elements
>that have been present in
>many cultures and honed them,
>But once again, if
>another civilzatio nwas running shit
>right now, do you really
>think the environment wouldnt be
>Western society is running
>shit right now, so of
>course we should fight it.
These statements trivialize the wrongs Westerners. It disallows one from analyzing the Western mind and seeing WHY things are done as they are. What is the Western worldview? How would someone be led to do what Westerners have done? The things occurring now were being done by Westerners BEFORE that had any say on worldly matters. The same mentality of the average American or European can be seen in the writings of Plato or the actions of the Aryans who invaded India. When you universalize as you do it pins the problem on the "tools" such as captialism, racism, apartheid, etc., instead of the "toolmaker" (Western conceptual system). I always get a good laugh when Euro-Americans discuss have evil capitalism is and cry for a socialist revolution, or when these socialists or MArxists same that I am in agreement with their idealogies. Marxism is CRAP!!! Since it is a creation of the Western mind, it can never be properly beneficial to the "people" as it claims to be.
But, many of these
>harmful Western ideals are found
>in other cultures (not all).
>Many of these problems were
>around before Western civiliza tion
>But was this
>perfection instrinsic to the civilization
>or did it develop through
>a combination of circumstances (like
>the European climate and terrain
It was instrinsic just because of the reasons you stated. A common element that I find interesting on these boards is the discussion of issues that one knows NOTHING about. I won't say this is explicitly a "western" characteristic but it is definitely an "AMERICAN" one. American culture in its educational system and social mores seem to instill in its people that it is more important to discuss an issue despite whether one knows anything about it. I say this because from this statement, you obviously have an ill-defined conception of how a worldview develops and what it is are.
(Note for this discussion: Worldview=conceptual system=thought process. However worldview DOES NOT equal "culture" as that refers to more specific, localized groups).
The initial stages of life in a given environment, with a certain physiology, certain experiences influenced a worldview (as we are discussing beginnings of Western worldview). Thus it would thereby be the dominating factor in how one defines reality or how concepts are defined (conceptual system). Therefore the worldview would pervade the rest of a people's lives (unless it was explicitly and knowingly changed) wherever they move to.
The culture of a people (behavior) is dependent on their environment, experiences and conceptual system (worldview). The conceptual system acts as a filter in which further aspects of life can be defined. For instance, the Eskimos of North America live in a harshly cold environment, however never acquired the characteristics of the European because their non-Western conceptual system was already in line. Their worldview is comparable to that of the varying Native AMerican cultures found in the warmer evironment in the United States. Also, many different cultures of the Bantu-speaking peoples of central and Southern Africa (Shona, Zulu) can be seen as possessing the same inherent conceptual system of the Dogon or Yoruba of Western Africa though their cultures are different and environments may vary from savannahs, rainforests to mountainous regions.
>Indo-Europeans from the
>Caucus region would not have
>overrun Europe and set off
>the West's ascension to power
>if they didnt have an
>ecosystem that favored wheat (which
>is more nutritious and easier
>to store than many other
>grains), contained metal ores (for
>weapons, tools, machines), and was
>native to horses (which were
>a tremendous advantage in war
>back in the day
Okay, well why did Europeans in more "environmentally-friendly" areas persist in trying to dominate and in many cases exterminate other groups who posed no or little threat to their safety. In many cases Europeans were helped in adapting to their new environments but still found the need to control. (see Europeans and indigenous peoples of the Americas, Europeans and Africans, British extermination of Tasmanians, etc.)
>agriculture is a different than
>plucking fruit from the tree.
>Plucking fruit does NOT harm
>the environment (unless you pluck
>way too many in a
>large region at once). Fruits
>were meant to be plucked.
>Thats why trees grow them.
>We eat the fruits, and
>we shit out the seeds
>a mile or two away
>so new trees can grow.
>Agriculture on the other hand,
>is not part of the
>ecosystem. It destroys a section
>of the ecosystem so we
>can make a surplus and
>store more food than we
>need (which is the advantage
>of agriculture over hunting-gathering). Of
>course Western civilization has a
>greater capacity to destroy the
WHAT?! The ONLY constant in this universe is CHANGE. Nature is meant to ADAPT to circumstances however it can be exploited too much until it is destroyed. Environmental damage has been done worldwide, noone is arguing that. However, has this been done knowingly and was it continued? In some cases it probably was. The ancient Meroitic empire of Africa (Kush) fell because of the deforestation of its trees to fuel its booming iron-smelting economy (which was greatly increase, I might add, for an increase in militaristic preparation for its and KMT's foreign invaders (Hyksos, Assyrians, etc.)). However, to assert that agriculture in and of itself harms the environment is ridiculous.
Ecosystems adapt to new circumstances. Added with human understanding and respect for the land, the ecosystem CHANGES but is not HARMED. As a great African griot once said "There is no CULTURE without AGRICULTURE!" Only through agriculture is a large civilization able to flourish. Small groups can survive on hunting and gathering but large numbers of people would only destroy the environment if this were to be the only means of food. The point is that cultures have existed for THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of years without significantly destroying the EArth but Western ways have depleted more of the world's resources and caused much pollution in less than 200 years!!!
Then when analyzing reoccurring themes within non-Western and Western culture one can see why. Western culture has always possessed a "man vs. nature" mentality instead of being in harmony with it. This has always been a reoccurring theme Western pop culture (literature, movies). In non-Western cultures there are usually explicit examples of a reverance for the nature. For example, in the 147 Affirmations (Negative Confessions) of MAAT (progenitor of the Ten Commandments), the Kamau (ancient Egytpians) believed that these principles must be met to be virtuous (rewarded in the afterlife): "I have not laid waste to ploughed lands" and "I have not polluted the waters." These principles were just as important to them as violations to humans such as "I have not killed."
"To be perfect is to lack nothing essential to the whole therefore I AM."-Solarus
"And if I have to dead you, it's only cuz I love you."- Talib Kweli