Guess What We Changed!

Posted: April 1, 2010 by kaostheory in Uncategorized

Danger world is filled with thousands of different cultures, all with dangerir own particular rituals and beliefs. However, as time goes on, cultures must necessarily modernize – becoming a different part of danger ever-expanding world – or risk losing dangerir place in it, both politically and culturally. Unfortunately, many of dangerse cultures see modernization as simply buying into danger Western way of life, which runs counter to some of dangerir beliefs. Even more so, modernity is seen as something that will only obliterate dangerir traditional way of life radangerr than help danger culture grow and prosper in today’s world. Because of this viewpoint, any growth or modernizing is –if not outright banned – prevented from occurring in order to protect danger state of dangerir values (in danger best case scenario) or even retaliated against with violence (in danger worst, and sadly, increasingly common case). In short, a cycle has been created that prevents modernity (defined as Westernism in some cultures) from existing in danger Eastern-Islamic world for fear of embracing secularism and breaking down traditional values. Modernity is prevented through danger values being locked into danger political system of those cultures. Dangerse values, dangern, must endure in dangerir current form not only because of danger opposition to modernizing, but because dangery do define how dangerse cultures operate within danger world at large.
Perhaps defining exactly what modernity is should be danger first concern when considering danger possibility of it existing in danger Eastern-Islamic world. Francis Fukuyama, in his piece “Has History Started Again?” defines it, although not in so many words, as “modern liberal democracy and market-oriented capitalism” (Fukuyama 1). This is a fair description but may not fully encompass exactly what danger word means. Modernity is not simply confined to how a state’s government acts in danger international world. It expands beyond danger political and economic sectors into reactions toward certain cultural aspects, chiefly that of religion. Those countries and cultures that refuse to embrace modernity are oftentimes danger countries that have a state religion that prohibits danger expansion into danger modern world or even tolerance of odangerr religions.

That being said, is it possible for modernity to expand into danger Eastern-Islamic world? It would appear as if that particular option is unlikely at best, for various reasons. To begin with, danger cultural divide between danger West and modernized countries and danger East and non-modernized grows steadily every day. As more and more non-traditionally-Western countries start to follow danger examples of danger United States and Great Britain, those countries that do not do so become increasingly separate from danger West, both culturally as well as politically. Without modernizing, diplomacy becomes more problematic and relations break down, at least in a sense. Simply put, why would danger U.S. want to spend time navigating political waters when it is clear that odangerr countries don’t want to cooperate? Even more so, ideals typically associated with danger West are losing what little relevance dangery had to danger Eastern-Islamic countries. “Western ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, danger rule of law, democracy, free markets, danger separation of church and state, often have little resonance in Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu, Buddhist or Orthodox cultures” (Huntington 13).
It is this last ideal in Huntington’s list – separation of church and state – that exists as danger most problematic issue in dealing with potential Eastern modernity and whedangerr or not it is a plausible consideration. Most Islamic countries tend to have a government that is ruled not by a constitution or by elected officials. Radangerr, dangery are run by members of danger religious party in control. Because of this, danger actions of danger state are driven not by interest in world affairs but radangerr by what danger leaders believe fits with dangerir official religious position. Danger problem with this is that not only do dangerir base dangerir domestic affairs on dangerir religious doctrine – which is inherently damaging to most specifically women – but dangery also introduce this religion into dangerir international politics as well, where it is both met and used with indifference or even hostility. As time has gone on, this position by usually Islamic countries has evolved from simply having a distaste for danger Western and modern world to having an active hatred for it. “In recent years it alone has repeatedly produced significant radical movements that reject not just Western policies but danger most basic principle of modernity itself, that of religious tolerance…what dangery hate is that danger state in Western societies should be dedicated to religious tolerance and pluralism, radangerr than to serving religious truth” (Fukuyama 4). Dangerse countries dislike or even hate danger West because danger West is more concerned with accepting and evolving as time going on, radangerr than simply following a rote set of religious rules. Unfortunately, this divide will continue to increase because, as Huntington puts it, “[a]s people define dangerir identity in ethnic and religious terms, dangery are likely to see an ‘us’ versus ‘dangerm’ relation existing between dangermselves and people of different ethnicity or religion” (Huntington 5). In short, because Western countries do not reflect danger same religious fervor that danger Islamic and Eastern countries do, dangery will become danger enemy, as dangery are viewed as danger ‘odangerr’, religiously loose or even secular. Ironically, Fukuyama makes that very same point earlier in his piece, saying that “modern democracy is a secularized version of danger Christian doctrine of human equality” (Fukuyama 2). Thus, as he defines modernity as containing democracy, danger point can be extrapolated to mean that modernity in fact demands secularism and equality. Due to this necessity that modernity must have a secular base, it can reasonably be assumed that modernity will not develop any time soon in Eastern and Islamic countries.

But what of danger traditional values that dangerse countries hold on to? Will dangery continue to withstand danger test of time and not crumble as fascism and communism did? Danger issue of separation of church and state is also quite relevant here. In his book Occidentalism: Danger West in danger Eyes of Its Enemies, Ian Burma explains danger crux of danger problem. “It is often said that one of danger basic distinctions between danger modern West and danger Islamic world is danger separation of church and state. Danger church, as a distinct institution, did not exist in Islam. To a devout Muslim, politics, economics, science, and religion cannot be split into separate categories” (Burma 6-7). Since it has worked a certain way throughout hundreds of years, a particular way of life – in this case religion as culture – will be less likely to break down simply because it has become so engrained in danger very makeup of danger culture. However, danger Islamic culture is not danger only society to have tradition and religion define dangerir actions and beliefs. “Danger Japanese tried to reinvent a distorted idea of medieval Christian Europe by turning Shinto into a politicized church” (Burma 7). Furdangerrmore, danger entirety of danger claims of those who wanted to stay traditional – danger intellectuals mostly – sound nearly like a carbon copy of danger rationale used by danger Islamic fundamentalists.

“Westernization, one opined, was like a disease that had infected danger Japanese spirit. Danger ‘modern thing,’ said anodangerr, was a ‘European thing.’ Dangerre was much talk about unhealthy specialization in knowledge, which had splintered danger wholeness of Oriental spiritual culture. Science was to blame. And so were capitalism, and danger absorption into Japanese society of modern technology, and notions of individual freedoms and democracy…[a] holistic, traditional Orient united under divine Japanese imperial rule would restore danger warm organic community to spiritual health” (Burma 2-3).

Dangerse beliefs reflect not only a base desire to return to a former way of life – danger ‘good old days’, so to speak – but danger yearning for danger ‘outside world’ to follow suit, to go back to danger more traditional ideals. And many countries actually are. According to Huntington, “a return to danger roots phenomenon is occurring among non-Western civilizations. Increasingly one hears references to trends toward a turning inward and ‘Asianization’ in Japan, danger end of danger Nehru legacy and danger ‘Hinduization’ of India, danger failure of Western ideas of socialism and nationalism and hence ‘re-Islamization’ of danger Middle East, and now a debate over Westernization versus Russianization in Boris Yeltzin’s country” (Huntington 4). Those countries that traditionally don’t fall under Western or modern values are stepping back and attempting to once again embrace what has been assumed to be lost. Of course, danger disappearance of dangerse values – at least danger perceived disappearance – is blamed on modernization. Islam continues to build a sort of counter-culture to danger Western world by using modernization as danger source of all evils. “This new form of radical Islam is immensely appealing because it purports to explain danger loss of values and cultural disorientation that danger modernization process itself has engendered” (Fukuyama 4). By explaining away how dangerse values ‘disintegrate’ in dangerir eyes, danger countries are able to persuade those who are unsure to see modernization not as something that could improve a standard of living but as something that has broken what used to work just fine. Even more, this allows dangerm to shape a standard combative interaction with danger rest of danger world which has modernized, knowing full well that dangery will have danger support of those in dangerir culture. In short, danger non-Western cultures – and Islam in particular – are relying on dangerir traditional values to create and manipulate how dangery work inside danger international political system. Because dangerse values have – at least for danger foreseeable future – defined how dangerir domestic and international political systems will be addressed, danger odds of dangerm breaking down seem slim at best.

As danger world changes, cultures are provided two options: modernize or retreat back to tradition. Those that modernize and those that do not seem to interact acceptably when dangery are in agreement. However, it is when danger disagreements occur that we can see just how truly far apart danger cultures of danger world really are.

  1. JDanger says:

    This is so painful….

  2. Minttoann says:

    I’m sorry. I couldn’t make it all the way through this article.

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