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« The Multiversal Dao | Main | Confucius as Contemporary Art »

January 06, 2012


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what IS "westernization"? it is the GLOBAL emergence of the concept of individual self-fulfillment.

there are very few governments anywhere that know how to deal with the changes in collective consciousness generated by this shift.

#occupytheworld will be everywhere as this unfolds. hjt is just trying to rally his troops to be vigilant, not trying to stop, but to contain.


I really admire your sentiment. You're a wonderfully humanistic thinker. However, when we look around at the world at different nations - some of which are more open to all kinds of chaotic and new culture, and some of which are more focused on shared social values... I think one would see that a "devil may care" attitude about free artistic expression does not lead a society in the direction of either happiness or intelligence.

Even looking at the difference at Canada and Australia as compared to the USA and the UK - where these are all very similar sibling countries - there's a huge difference in attitude, mindset, and approach to life. The USA and the UK are full of terrible amounts of unreasonable social drama. Yes, the UK has lots of highbrow discourse, but I kind of feel that would be because of the strong sense of social values that pervaded children's lives in the early 1900s. Sadly, as I see it, I don't think that today's UK teenagers will continue that tradition in the upcoming decades. The kind of people we saw rioting on the streets in London this last year are not the kind of folks who hold inspired intellectual discourse dear to their hearts as a practice they like to indulge in.

Canada, by contrast, seems to be a country built on rationalistic thinking. Watching their government broadcast channel is an inspiration to me. Australia seems to be a country where caring for one's community seems to be of the highest import. Both Canada and Australia have censorship of the mass media in a way we don't have, in the USA.

Japan is a wonderful happy, clean country with its very strong sense of social rules.

India is a country that I see as somewhat similar to the USA in its core sensibilities - everyone's very independent, and people frequently reason based on emotionalism rather than earnestly. I don't think that India is helped by being that way.

Authoritarianism, like we saw in the former USSR, is not the same thing as social mores and standards that people in the society corporately agree upon. As I see it, however, authoritarianism happens when those in charge (such as parents) lose their knack and wisdom when it comes to nurturing those they're caring for... and they begin to make constant and unreasonable demands, which of course can never be lived up to.

One lesson we all need to learn - especially those of us who are young - is that rebellion toward prevalent social mores in the society is not equivalent to rebellion against unreasonable demands by authority figures.

I agree that government control can be bad for culture. However, Confucian Classics, including Mencius, appear to advocate some degree of governmental influence in culture. (As a result, while I used to believe that the government should stay out of culture entirely, I now adopt a more middle-of-the-road position.)

Government control or not, I think "culture" has two definitions - one prescriptive, one descriptive. I've come to appreciate the prescriptive definition of culture after studying Confucianism. One aspect of "Westernisation" I'm personally resistant to is liberal sexual and marital norms. Now, I agree that a lot of Chinese people in different Chinese communities around the world do not uphold traditional teachings about marriage, but surely to revive traditional Chinese culture should involve combating licentiousness rather than promoting promiscuity?

I loved reading this. It's something I've often thought about abstractly but haven't been coherent enough to write down. I grew up in a family that had a strong social democratic spirit. It was alluded to me growing up that the government was always just one social program away from fixing a problem. They were just too greedy to do it.

When I got older and met a few government bureaucrats I thought "These are the people that are supposed to uphold culture? Yikes". I'm not bashing social democracy. I think that people of all creeds can be prone to this type of thinking.

Culture is a natural product of the moment not something you go to see at a museum or try to uphold with laws.

The post by anonymous dissecting the different cultures of India, the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia is interesting. I'm sort of amazed that someone could think Canadians and Australians are at all similar. I live in Canada and I've always found many Australians to be even more belligerent, loud and individualistic than any America. And I mean that in a nicest way! I'm Canadian therefor I regularly apologize for my existence. I'm not saying that's an ideal.

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