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Kankra
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#51 Post by Kankra » 14 Apr 2009 07:38

90% of Western world are Christian. And I think that christianism is nothing but that whay you just said: "century old religious and moralic views". What do you say to me about Sarah Palin? The Pope? Most perfect way to describe religious-dumb and political oppressor. So, you can say that Arab world suck, but I can't agree if you point that as the main reason.
Most parts of the Western world are secular, i.e. believe in a separation of government and religion. True, there are "religious fanatics" even in the Occident, but they tend to be religious only when they can be a nuisance (aka demanding creationism to be taught in school alongside evolution), but they usually aren't militant.

The Pope is a funny example btw.

For my part, in Germany, almost nobody holds "century old religious and moralic views". Or if so, those are damn good moralic views, aka help your neighbour, don't murder, etc. What I see are illuminated, critical people, questioning (some more, some less) the way things are put to them.

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#52 Post by Wicked Child » 14 Apr 2009 13:28

Kankra wrote:
90% of Western world are Christian. And I think that christianism is nothing but that whay you just said: "century old religious and moralic views". What do you say to me about Sarah Palin? The Pope? Most perfect way to describe religious-dumb and political oppressor. So, you can say that Arab world suck, but I can't agree if you point that as the main reason.
Most parts of the Western world are secular, i.e. believe in a separation of government and religion. True, there are "religious fanatics" even in the Occident, but they tend to be religious only when they can be a nuisance (aka demanding creationism to be taught in school alongside evolution), but they usually aren't militant.

The Pope is a funny example btw.

For my part, in Germany, almost nobody holds "century old religious and moralic views". Or if so, those are damn good moralic views, aka help your neighbour, don't murder, etc. What I see are illuminated, critical people, questioning (some more, some less) the way things are put to them.
Probably you are right about your homeland. Though we're discussing about Western and Eastern culture. So, I don't think it is appropriate to judge all Eastern world based on your country.
The world is infested by religion on politics, so you can`t throw this on Arabic world. Even worse, part of the decadence of the aravic world is due to Western oppression, as you may know.
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#53 Post by Kankra » 14 Apr 2009 14:51

Wicked Child wrote:Now about science, I must say that, you can't also take this as supreme truth. There are more subjective and emotional issues that are barely understandable even for scientists. A good example is that the magnetism or chemistry were, for a long time, known as metaphysics.
People always forget about HUMAN sciences, such as, Antropology, Philosofy, Sociology and even Economy, when it comes to religious discussions. But they are just as important as Math, Physics, Biology and Chemistry for the understanding of religion and anything else.
There are a lot of valuable thoughts and philosofies inside christianism, islam, budism and other religions. The problem is the MEN speaking as GODS. And the creation of religious instituitions as a tool of manipulating through power.
Magnetism and chemistry are very good examples. If they were first metaphysics, then because they were imprecise methodologies that couldn't be explained. People observed chemical reactions, but didn't understand the mechanics behind them. Later on, the mechanics were discovered, and both became real science.

Human sciences, as you call them, are as imprecise as it can get. For that reason, I don't like them. Take economy for example. Some economists pretend they can foresee how economics will develop, and that stinks because they're wrong unless they, by coincidence, predict accidently the truth. These "sciences" are based on mechanisms that aren't understood yet, and might never be, and still some people try to sell them to us as if they'd have revealed the biggest part of the mystery. In my book, they're no sciences anyway. Sure, they're important, but I hate it when they're meshed together with the "real" sciences.

But what you say is true: if the Christians were to follow Jesus' teachings instead of just his image in their churches, this world would definitely be better place.
Probably you are right about your homeland. Though we're discussing about Western and Eastern culture. So, I don't think it is appropriate to judge all Eastern world based on your country.
The world is infested by religion on politics, so you can`t throw this on Arabic world. Even worse, part of the decadence of the aravic world is due to Western oppression, as you may know.
The Western world: That's Europe and the USA. In Europe, almost all countries (which aren't?) are secular. The church holds no political power at all. And even in the USA, with its many fundamentalists, the church has no significant power over the government. Religion in the USA tends to be important for the elections, but otherwise I fail to see how religious organisations influence the senate or the president.

In the East (Orient) however, this separation is either non-existant or very weak. Just have a look at Turkey: for decades, their laicism was one of Kemal Ataturk's most important gifts. And now the religious fundamentalists clash with the secular population more than ever.

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#54 Post by Belgarion » 14 Apr 2009 16:24

Kankra wrote:Just have a look at Turkey: for decades, their laicism was one of Kemal Ataturk's most important gifts. And now the religious fundamentalists clash with the secular population more than ever.
Yeah, ask me about that. It's like watching your country rot day by day and there is nothing you can do. Sure we protest here and there and whenever we get the chance; but the situation is real bad. The thing is that most of Turkey's population consists of ignorant, not educated fools who are easily drawn to the "dark side" by those religious fundamentalists. The sad part is, millions of secular people stand the degrading consequences along with those fools.

If I were in the shoes of the EU, I would never grant a membership to Turkey as it is. At least, not in 20 years. Sure, there are like 20-25 million Turkish citizens who could contribute a lot to the EU (and deserve to enjoy its priviliges in return), but some significant part of the rest (40 million) would probably degenerate their environment.
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#55 Post by Wicked Child » 14 Apr 2009 17:52

Kankra wrote:
Wicked Child wrote:Now about science, I must say that, you can't also take this as supreme truth. There are more subjective and emotional issues that are barely understandable even for scientists. A good example is that the magnetism or chemistry were, for a long time, known as metaphysics.
People always forget about HUMAN sciences, such as, Antropology, Philosofy, Sociology and even Economy, when it comes to religious discussions. But they are just as important as Math, Physics, Biology and Chemistry for the understanding of religion and anything else.
There are a lot of valuable thoughts and philosofies inside christianism, islam, budism and other religions. The problem is the MEN speaking as GODS. And the creation of religious instituitions as a tool of manipulating through power.
Human sciences, as you call them, are as imprecise as it can get. For that reason, I don't like them. Take economy for example. Some economists pretend they can foresee how economics will develop, and that stinks because they're wrong unless they, by coincidence, predict accidently the truth. These "sciences" are based on mechanisms that aren't understood yet, and might never be, and still some people try to sell them to us as if they'd have revealed the biggest part of the mystery. In my book, they're no sciences anyway. Sure, they're important, but I hate it when they're meshed together with the "real" sciences.
Well, that's your opinion. I personally don't see how to measure how real the sciences are. Of course there are the so called exact sciences, but even in those, the interpretation that you made from what you get is what conceives a theory about anything. Just as are Human Sciences. The mechanisms are known by scientists. An antropologist, for example, may study several cultures and live among them, and than he comes up with a theory about it and so on.
The most brilliant Physicist ever, a countryman of yours, once said: "Everything is relative". Even 2+2.
The Western world: That's Europe and the USA. In Europe, almost all countries (which aren't?) are secular. The church holds no political power at all. And even in the USA, with its many fundamentalists, the church has no significant power over the government. Religion in the USA tends to be important for the elections, but otherwise I fail to see how religious organisations influence the senate or the president.

In the East (Orient) however, this separation is either non-existant or very weak. Just have a look at Turkey: for decades, their laicism was one of Kemal Ataturk's most important gifts. And now the religious fundamentalists clash with the secular population more than ever.
Western world includes also Canada, Mexico and Caribean countries, such as South America.
The instituition of the church itself doesn't hold any effective power o the governments, I would say, in any of those countries. But I am sure it has left many deep traces in our ethics and moralities and even what we're discussing right now is, undeniable, based on christian morality. So, when someone, that is from a party with deep relations with catholic conservatism, becomes a president, it's done. We're influenced anyhow.

Well.. we got way out off topic so far, aren't we?
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#56 Post by Kankra » 15 Apr 2009 07:25

Yeah, ask me about that. It's like watching your country rot day by day and there is nothing you can do. Sure we protest here and there and whenever we get the chance; but the situation is real bad. The thing is that most of Turkey's population consists of ignorant, not educated fools who are easily drawn to the "dark side" by those religious fundamentalists. The sad part is, millions of secular people stand the degrading consequences along with those fools.

If I were in the shoes of the EU, I would never grant a membership to Turkey as it is. At least, not in 20 years. Sure, there are like 20-25 million Turkish citizens who could contribute a lot to the EU (and deserve to enjoy its priviliges in return), but some significant part of the rest (40 million) would probably degenerate their environment.
Do something!!! .p
Well, that's your opinion. I personally don't see how to measure how real the sciences are. Of course there are the so called exact sciences, but even in those, the interpretation that you made from what you get is what conceives a theory about anything. Just as are Human Sciences. The mechanisms are known by scientists. An antropologist, for example, may study several cultures and live among them, and than he comes up with a theory about it and so on.
The most brilliant Physicist ever, a countryman of yours, once said: "Everything is relative". Even 2+2.
"Everything is relative" - way to take a quote totally out of its context. Yes, even length and weight and time are relative to your speed of movement. But 2+2 still will always be 4, and that's totally cool with Einstein. His quote is not supposed to mean that there can't be any truthful statements anymore in the world without somebody popping up and saying "oh hey, wait, but it's relative!"
The mechanisms are known by scientists. An antropologist, for example, may study several cultures and live among them, and than he comes up with a theory about it and so on.
That's not a mechanism. A theory about why certain cultures did something or other is just scientifical working - make a theory, try to (dis)prove it. It is however not, or very hard, to prove things in the antropologic world, while it is certainly possible to prove theories in physics or mathematics.
Western world includes also Canada, Mexico and Caribean countries, such as South America.
That's entirely a matter of definition, but in the course of this discussion, where we're talking about cultural influence, it's obvious none of the additions you make have had any relevant influence on the Western World as whole.
The instituition of the church itself doesn't hold any effective power o the governments, I would say, in any of those countries. But I am sure it has left many deep traces in our ethics and moralities and even what we're discussing right now is, undeniable, based on christian morality. So, when someone, that is from a party with deep relations with catholic conservatism, becomes a president, it's done. We're influenced anyhow.
You were earlier discussing how people should follow their religious ideals, not worship religious persons, aka follow Jesus' ideals, not worship Jesus as person: Belief=good, church=bad. If, as you say, a man influenced by catholic ideals becomes president who is not influenced by an instituation, isn't it all good? :P

Of course everybody is a child of the culture he's been brought up in, and certainly all cultures have been, and are still, influenced by religion. But back to the Enlightenment in Europe: people have freed themselves off the blind belief of religion, and started to think scientifically, working with arguments, reason, theories, criticism. That was their way to intellectual freedom.

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#57 Post by Belgarion » 15 Apr 2009 12:53

Wicked Child wrote:The most brilliant Physicist ever, a countryman of yours, once said: "Everything is relative". Even 2+2.
I can't agree on the assumption that even 2+2 is relative. But as a humorous example to this relativity discussion, let's see what he said:

"If my theory of relativity is proven correct, Germany will claim me as a German and France will say I am a man of the world. If it's proven wrong, France will say I am a German and Germany will say I am a Jew."

So yeah, even his nationality is relative. :P
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#58 Post by Wicked Child » 15 Apr 2009 15:22

Kankra wrote:
Wicked Child wrote:Well, that's your opinion. I personally don't see how to measure how real the sciences are. Of course there are the so called exact sciences, but even in those, the interpretation that you made from what you get is what conceives a theory about anything. Just as are Human Sciences. The mechanisms are known by scientists. An antropologist, for example, may study several cultures and live among them, and than he comes up with a theory about it and so on.
The most brilliant Physicist ever, a countryman of yours, once said: "Everything is relative". Even 2+2.
"Everything is relative" - way to take a quote totally out of its context. Yes, even length and weight and time are relative to your speed of movement. But 2+2 still will always be 4, and that's totally cool with Einstein. His quote is not supposed to mean that there can't be any truthful statements anymore in the world without somebody popping up and saying "oh hey, wait, but it's relative!"
I'm not saying "everything is relative" aiming that. What I'm saying IS, that once things are relative, you cannot say, or you don't need to say, that "this science is better than this one".
There can be truthful statements, KEPT IT'S PROPER PROPORTIONS.
Kankra wrote:
Wicked Child wrote:The mechanisms are known by scientists. An antropologist, for example, may study several cultures and live among them, and than he comes up with a theory about it and so on.
That's not a mechanism. A theory about why certain cultures did something or other is just scientifical working - make a theory, try to (dis)prove it. It is however not, or very hard, to prove things in the antropologic world, while it is certainly possible to prove theories in physics or mathematics.
Very hard to prove. What do you mean? I have had Antropology on my graduation and, although it was very superficial, I learned at least that many things could and were proven. Some of them are, for example: Geographical and biological conditions DOES NOT determinate cultural aspects. Done. It was proven. With studies, with methods.
You're even contradicting yourself when you say it is not a science, once it WAS recognized as a science as the church stopped representing a political power towards society.
No matter what, you are saying something that was NEVER recognized by any scientific instituition, or important scientific publications, or scientists themselves. Scientific community, in general, never said "this science is real and this one is not". I'm sorry.
Kankra wrote:
Wicked Child wrote:Western world includes also Canada, Mexico and Caribean countries, such as South America.
That's entirely a matter of definition, but in the course of this discussion, where we're talking about cultural influence, it's obvious none of the additions you make have had any relevant influence on the Western World as whole.
What? As for cultural aspects, I think that it IS relevant. I don't see why wouldn't be. We have as much territory, population and probably more cultural mixture as Europe or USA.
Kankra wrote:
Wicked Child wrote:The instituition of the church itself doesn't hold any effective power o the governments, I would say, in any of those countries. But I am sure it has left many deep traces in our ethics and moralities and even what we're discussing right now is, undeniable, based on christian morality. So, when someone, that is from a party with deep relations with catholic conservatism, becomes a president, it's done. We're influenced anyhow.
You were earlier discussing how people should follow their religious ideals, not worship religious persons, aka follow Jesus' ideals, not worship Jesus as person: Belief=good, church=bad. If, as you say, a man influenced by catholic ideals becomes president who is not influenced by an instituation, isn't it all good? :P
You're right except that I didn't say "a man influenced by catholic ideals". When I say "catholic conservatism", I mean the dogmas or policies of the religious INSTITUITION, the Church. Thus, what I meant was someone who takes power when he is influenced by instituition.
I always admired people led by true feelings of love for the next, that were the ideals of Jesus Christ.
Kankra wrote:Of course everybody is a child of the culture he's been brought up in, and certainly all cultures have been, and are still, influenced by religion. But back to the Enlightenment in Europe: people have freed themselves off the blind belief of religion, and started to think scientifically, working with arguments, reason, theories, criticism. That was their way to intellectual freedom.
Yeah, doesn't make the entire East culture "suck" as you said. It is, btw, a very racist definition.
For your understanding, I'm not defending how many radical religious people run politics on their countries, but I'm saying that the world itself is full of idiotic leaders. It is not a problem of just Arabs, Russians, Japanese or Italians.
I don't agree with blind belief nor scepticism, neither do I recognize the existance of some kind of supremacy from a culture over another (which is proven wrong by antropology), as you assume that there is.
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#59 Post by Joost » 15 Apr 2009 18:25

Kankra wrote:
Western world includes also Canada, Mexico and Caribean countries, such as South America.
That's entirely a matter of definition, but in the course of this discussion, where we're talking about cultural influence, it's obvious none of the additions you make have had any relevant influence on the Western World as whole.
Just wondering, why not Canada? They're an economically succesful country with one of the highest standards of living worldwide (ranking #3 in the Human Development Index, after Iceland and Norway -- considering the crisis in Iceland, they'll probably be up to #2 in next year's edition).

I'm sure Canada is much more influential economically, politically, and culturally than, let's say, Albania.
You charge each other for the time and breath it takes to say 'good morning',
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We all pursue our shattered dreams along the roads to our own ruin --
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#60 Post by Kankra » 15 Apr 2009 22:33

Who has Brazil? What exactly were its contributions to the culture of the entire western world? This is not a game of "my country is better than yours", mind you. What has come out of Brazil that has changed the lives of the people of the Western world?

Canada is a good point. I tend to count it to the USA .p Tho to be honest, the main difference between their and US influences are the slight addition of Frenchness.

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#61 Post by Skyclad » 15 Apr 2009 22:43

Brazil gave nothing to culture. It probably took away from it. It's without a doubt Terry Gilliam's worst movie.
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#62 Post by Joost » 15 Apr 2009 22:56

Kankra wrote:Who has Brazil? What exactly were its contributions to the culture of the entire western world? This is not a game of "my country is better than yours", mind you. What has come out of Brazil that has changed the lives of the people of the Western world?
I guess what also matters is what exactly you mean with 'part of the Western World'.

The contributions of Liechtenstein to the world mostly have been quite limited (mostly to having a funky monarchy and some banks that, like in Switzerland, allow criminals to store their money anonymously), but I would say it's undoubtedly a part of the Western world.

Countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have a culture that is basically mostly 'exported Anglo-Saxon culture'. That is what, in my eyes, makes them a part of the Western World.

Japan has made huge contributions to the world in many ways -- both technologically and culturally --, they are a developed country that would be a part of what was traditionally called the "First World", yet they are not a Western country.

So, what about South America? Although much more of a mixture of different cultures, the main component of South American culture is, I would say, exported South-European (Spanish/Portuguese) culture. That would, in my eyes, make them a part of the 'Western World'.

So, in the end, if you -- like me -- would define the 'Western World' as the part of the world that shares certain cultural origins, Latin America is definitely a part of it. If you would define it in terms of importance, then Latin America would maybe not be a part of it, but Japan definitely would -- and counting Japan among the Western World is a thing so absurd to me that I'm inclined to dismiss such a definition automatically.
You charge each other for the time and breath it takes to say 'good morning',
But the truth is slowly dawning -- things are getting out of hand,
We all pursue our shattered dreams along the roads to our own ruin --
Watch our empires sink and wash away like castles made of sand.
And so cast off the lies that are your lives and find the truth within.
-- Martin Walkyier

Also, Balrogs have wings.

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#63 Post by Wicked Child » 15 Apr 2009 23:53

Kankra wrote:Who has Brazil? What exactly were its contributions to the culture of the entire western world?
This is not a game of "my country is better than yours", mind you. What has come out of Brazil that has changed the lives of the people of the Western world?
I really think it doesn't have a point at all, but still. It was a brazillian guy who invented something called airplane. The same guy invented wirst watch. Just to mention. But that's a way too silly discussion.
It's funny though how you mention Brazil in an offensive way (obviously because it is a Brazilian guy who's arguing with you) and right after then you say it doesn't have anything to do with a game. Why are you asking those things then? You probably want me to ask you back (?)

We're talking about HALF of the western world that you left out. I think it counts a lot once we're discussing about western culture. Culture is not only scientific inventions, you might know. Antropology defines culture. But in your "western world inside your mind", antropology is not even a science.
Skyclad wrote:Brazil gave nothing to culture. It probably took away from it. It's without a doubt Terry Gilliam's worst movie
Haven't seen this one yet. :)
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#64 Post by Kankra » 16 Apr 2009 12:51

Japan has made huge contributions to the world in many ways -- both technologically and culturally
That's funny, I thought about how Japan, from the 90s onward, has influenced the Western world so much. Btw a far bigger influence on the central European pop culture than Brazil - and yet again, this is not a country vs country competition. I am merely stating my opinion.
The oil-rich Arabian countries on the other hand... they just suck. Mostly awfully backward cultures with century-old religious and moralic views, who've - due to religious and political oppression (mostly by their own people) - have contributed nothing, neither intellectually, scientifically nor culturally, during the last centuries.
Probably you are right about your homeland. Though we're discussing about Western and Eastern culture. So, I don't think it is appropriate to judge all Eastern world based on your country.
The world is infested by religion on politics, so you can`t throw this on Arabic world. Even worse, part of the decadence of the aravic world is due to Western oppression, as you may know.
This is were we started the discussion about Western world compared to Eastern world, and how religion/religious institutions played/play a role for today's culture. I wanted to explain how a typical attribute of the Western World is the laicism and being secular, as opposed to the Arabian/Muslim countries. This laicism mainly stems from France, but took hold of almost entire Europe after a while. South America has nothing to do with this. Brazil has nothing to do with this. For some reason, the discussion just went there. In my opinion, it IS very appropriate judging the Eastern world from my perspective, because I didn't compare Brazil or Germany or whatever with Iran. I compared ideals of a general European culture (which I am a part of) vs the quagmire that is the Middle East.
It was a brazillian guy who invented something called airplane. The same guy invented wirst watch. Just to mention. But that's a way too silly discussion.
It's funny though how you mention Brazil in an offensive way
It's funny how you perceive me as offensive when I factually ask how Brazil has influenced the Western world, and you name inventions that are not, for a single second, connected with Brazil in the minds of the people. I have no clue who invented the comic book. Was it a German, Wilhelm Busch? Maybe, maybe not. Doesnt matter anyway, because the comic book as not perceived as a Germany-related influence. But did the comic book have a big influence? Sure it did.
Yeah, doesn't make the entire East culture "suck" as you said. It is, btw, a very racist definition.
It's not racist at all because I couldnt care less what race the people in the East are. Neither did I say their culture sucks because of their race. It just sucks because of its evident flaws. People are not born WITH culture, they're born INTO a culture. The moral, religious mindset of a person is almost entirely a product of his upbringing and the culture in which he lives. The concept of racism could not be farther away from that.
I don't agree with blind belief nor scepticism, neither do I recognize the existance of some kind of supremacy from a culture over another (which is proven wrong by antropology), as you assume that there is.
Supremacy... a very negatively connotated word. But let's use it, hey. Yes, the German culture is superior to the culture of your average Muslim country in the Middle East. There you go, I said it.

Why is that? Because violence and violent solutions are completly out of the question in Germany. Society completely and utterly condemns violence for any reason (which doesnt mean it happens sometimes of course) - self-defense maybe as exception. Lynch law, self-administered justice, honour killings, are all condemned by the vast majority of the Germans and happen extremly rarely. Nepotism, corruption, vendettas, all much less prominent than in the Middle East. The rights of women and homosexuals are protected, not only by law, but also by consent within the society. You can have any kind of opinion about religion, and you can speak it without having to fear anything (except from immigrants, heh). There is no day when I am not annoyed about Germany and the people around me. Their selfishness, their thoughtlessness, their greed and laziness, idiocy, whatever. But still, Germany, not for its wealth, but for its culture, is a more pleasent place than your average country in the Middle East. There is no reason denying that except maybe for some weird form of political correctness. Maybe you perceive the term "culture" as a collection of traditions & customs, in which case I would agree with you. However, this discussion, from the very start, used "culture" with a much broader definition.

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#65 Post by Joost » 16 Apr 2009 12:56

Kankra wrote:
Japan has made huge contributions to the world in many ways -- both technologically and culturally
That's funny, I thought about how Japan, from the 90s onward, has influenced the Western world so much. Btw a far bigger influence on the central European pop culture than Brazil - and yet again, this is not a country vs country competition. I am merely stating my opinion.
But you are ignorning the point of my previous post here. The point of my previous post was that whether a country is a part of the 'Western World' or not should not be judged by the amount of influence that country has culturally or technologically, but rather by the origins of its culture. And by that criterion, all of Latin America most definitely belongs to the Western World.

My argument is simply: Latin American culture has Iberian culture as its primary origin. Their culture is largely an exported European culture, and can thus be called 'Western Culture' just by virtue of its origins. No value judgements attached here, just simple observation, because I don't think that "Western Culture" should be defined in terms of value judgements. Wicked Child's original point was exactly that not all of the Western World is so enlightened and secular as you claimed it was.

Also, keep in mind that the countries in Latin America are younger and need some time to develop to stable democracies like European countries. Even in the 70s, there were dictatorships in the parts of Europe to the west of the iron curtain (Spain and Greece, that is).
You charge each other for the time and breath it takes to say 'good morning',
But the truth is slowly dawning -- things are getting out of hand,
We all pursue our shattered dreams along the roads to our own ruin --
Watch our empires sink and wash away like castles made of sand.
And so cast off the lies that are your lives and find the truth within.
-- Martin Walkyier

Also, Balrogs have wings.

::.: Homepage .::. last.fm .::. Facebook .::. Flickr :.::

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#66 Post by Wicked Child » 16 Apr 2009 14:20

Kankra wrote:This is were we started the discussion about Western world compared to Eastern world, and how religion/religious institutions played/play a role for today's culture. I wanted to explain how a typical attribute of the Western World is the laicism and being secular, as opposed to the Arabian/Muslim countries. This laicism mainly stems from France, but took hold of almost entire Europe after a while. South America has nothing to do with this. Brazil has nothing to do with this.

For some reason, the discussion just went there. In my opinion, it IS very appropriate judging the Eastern world from my perspective, because I didn't compare Brazil or Germany or whatever with Iran. I compared ideals of a general European culture (which I am a part of) vs the quagmire that is the Middle East.

It's funny how you perceive me as offensive when I factually ask how Brazil has influenced the Western world, and you name inventions that are not, for a single second, connected with Brazil in the minds of the people.
Wether you know the culture of native indians of Americas or not - and I don't know either - it won't mean that they don't belong to western culture, because culture is not about influence.
Joost correctly stated that, already.
Kankra wrote:It's not racist at all because I couldnt care less what race the people in the East are. Neither did I say their culture sucks because of their race. It just sucks because of its evident flaws. People are not born WITH culture, they're born INTO a culture. The moral, religious mindset of a person is almost entirely a product of his upbringing and the culture in which he lives. The concept of racism could not be farther away from that.
Your concept of culture is wrong, man. This whole discussion is about antropology. People are not born with culture. Culture is innate.
I may have used the term racism in an unappropriate way, because in my language we use the same word to define 2 different things. In english, I would say you're biased.
Now, the geographical and biological determinism - in which you are, consciously or not, basing you opinion - created the theory of the ethnocentrism. That theory, was banned from academic books, hundreds of years ago. Because...
Wikipedia wrote:Ethnocentrism occurs when one culture or nation places itself at the top of an imagined hierarchy of cultures and nations and subsequently assigns other cultures and nations equivalent or lower value on that scale.
Kankra wrote:Yes, the German culture is superior to the culture of your average Muslim country in the Middle East. There you go, I said it.
Wikipedia wrote:The belief that Nation 'A'is intrinsically “better” than any other is inculcated in the population until it becomes “naturalized”, that is, a commonly held belief that Nation 'A' has always been the best. It has never been any other way, and that all other nations can be judged according to the model Nation “A” represents. Nation “A” is the centre and all other ethnicities must strive to emulate it in order to move up in the imaginary hierarchy.
Kankra wrote:Why is that? Because violence and violent solutions are completly out of the question in Germany. Society completely and utterly condemns violence for any reason (which doesnt mean it happens sometimes of course) - self-defense maybe as exception. Lynch law, self-administered justice, honour killings, are all condemned by the vast majority of the Germans and happen extremly rarely. Nepotism, corruption, vendettas, all much less prominent than in the Middle East. The rights of women and homosexuals are protected, not only by law, but also by consent within the society. You can have any kind of opinion about religion, and you can speak it without having to fear anything (except from immigrants, heh).

But still, Germany, not for its wealth, but for its culture, is a more pleasent place than your average country in the Middle East. There is no reason denying that except maybe for some weird form of political correctness.
It means you live in a pacific country, which is great. Still doesn't make the Arab world's culture suck. That is my point. You can say, though, it sucks to live among bombs. But, so you know, German was not ALWAYS a peaceful place to live. Just to point one European spot. Now, THAT is not a game about "my country is better than yours".
Kankra wrote:Maybe you perceive the term "culture" as a collection of traditions & customs, in which case I would agree with you. However, this discussion, from the very start, used "culture" with a much broader definition.
It's not MY perception of culture. I'm stating that it is the antropological concept. I started the discussion because people (in that case, you and Belgarion) were misapplying the term culture to justify your hatred upon people who suffer from it's political systems. After all, I noticed that you, in fact, doesn't hate anyone. And I'm glad I could find that out.

Now, if you want to put it in generic terms and say it is relative, that's fine with me. :P
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#67 Post by Belgarion » 16 Apr 2009 16:48

Wicked Child wrote:I started the discussion because people (in that case, you and Belgarion) were misapplying the term culture to justify your hatred upon people who suffer from it's political systems.
I don't hate them. It's illogical to "hate" people as whole, anyway. But I resent them because they are fools. I also don't hate fool people; it's a strong word. And you say that they suffer from their political systems, well, that's because they don't do shit about it. They are being herded like sheep and that's their weakness. Governments can't establish themselves for long times without the support of their folks. Every folk is ruled the way it deserves. I'm not saying that it is easy to change overnight; it takes long time, because you can't impose a sophisticated political system onto your people when the social development of these people is not at a level required to internalize the positive change. A very good example is Turkey. Kemal Ataturk switched from the old sultanate system into a democracy in a very short time. People were not ready for such a huge change; even so that even some of his most royal soldier friends, who helped him immensely to win the independence war, turned their backs on him and even plotted assasination attempts against him. I'm still puzzled by how Ataturk could achieve such a change at the time. But to tell you the truth, after 80 years of the establishment of democracy, a significant part of the population (religious fundamentalists) today don't want democracy. They want to be ruled by the Sharia. Why? Because democracy had been imposed on them in a very short period. They had to change the way they lived without understanding it, without having reasons to forget about their old habits. Now, we observe that those habits have still not died.

And I don't think I'm misapplying culture here. What is culture anyway?

According to Wikipedia, it is:

1. an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
2. the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.

Either way, in either terms, I don't like their culture. Hell, I don't even like most parts of my own culture. There is a fine line where idiocy enters a nation's culture and take it backwards. Then people adopt these idiocies because now it's a norm, it's in their culture.
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#68 Post by Wicked Child » 16 Apr 2009 19:09

It's fine you don't like your culture. The whole discussion is about saying some culture was "better" than Arabic culture. There is no such thing.
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#69 Post by Led Guardian » 16 Apr 2009 21:17

Kankra wrote:And even in the USA, with its many fundamentalists, the church has no significant power over the government. Religion in the USA tends to be important for the elections, but otherwise I fail to see how religious organisations influence the senate or the president.
Despite what many people think (including Americans), fundamentalist groups aren't so much enormous as particularly loud. The number of more moderate Christians in the United States is far greater than that of extremists. (Although a disturbingly high number of people think humans didn't evolve :? ). As a whole, Christianity is on the decline in the US. Since 1990, the number of Christians relative to the rest of the population by about 10%. Most of these people are from the southern part of the US, too, so the statistics are somewhat misleading.
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#70 Post by Belgarion » 16 Apr 2009 22:53

Wicked Child wrote:It's fine you don't like your culture. The whole discussion is about saying some culture was "better" than Arabic culture. There is no such thing.
Yes, there is no such thing. It's just that some people are happy with living in a shithole while some aren't.
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#71 Post by Wicked Child » 17 Apr 2009 02:35

Belgarion wrote:
Wicked Child wrote:It's fine you don't like your culture. The whole discussion is about saying some culture was "better" than Arabic culture. There is no such thing.
Yes, there is no such thing. It's just that some people are happy with living in a shithole while some aren't.
??? Didn't get your point.
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#72 Post by Belgarion » 17 Apr 2009 10:45

I mean, yes, you can't say a culture is better than another, because it's all up to a person's interpretation about what is good and what is bad for him. But a shithole is still a shithole. :twisted:
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#73 Post by Joost » 17 Apr 2009 10:52

I think you can say that one culture is better than another, just not objectively.

That may sound a helluva lot like a truism, because 'better than' is a pretty subjective statement anyway. But it explains why anthropology (which, as a science, should strive to a description of cultures that is as objective as possible, and not mixed with personal value judgements) should not, and yet we as humans who are not just objective observers of the world, but also active agents in the world, can say that one culture is better than another.

I would not want to live in a country ruled by religious fundamentalists, and I would not wish this to anyone I know either. So, for me, a secular culture based on Enlightenment and humanist values is superior to a culture ruled by old religious values. But that's not an objective statement, and it's not even meant to be one.
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#74 Post by Kankra » 17 Apr 2009 13:04

Honestly? What is this political correctness textbook blabla? Of course the German "way of things" is superior to the average Arabian/Muslim "way of things" in exactly the examples that I mentioned: condemnation of violence, religious freedom, emancipation, etc. If you say the opposite, I don't know what to tell you. You have no clue? You've been hit on the head? In all these examples that I have mentioned, the German way is objectively better. How can acceptance of violence be better than condemnation of violence? How can oppression and discrimination be better than freedom and equality? And why are you clinging to your textbook with its wonderful generic statement "no culture is better than another" while I've already whittled down my statements to very specific examples and tried to get away from calling it "culture"? We're trying to discuss here despite our language barriers, and all you do is withdrawing to your textbook general statement stuff that doesnt help the discussion at all, and is really pissing me off. I said: "The oil-rich Arabian [are] mostly awfully backward cultures with century-old religious and moralic views, who've [...] contributed nothing, neither intellectually, scientifically nor culturally, during the last centuries." The word "culture" was probably unfitting here, but hey, let's substitute it with "society" and let's get on with it! Let's just exchange one unclear term with another until we find one that you cant take as excuse for falling back on generic blabber!

You then answered: 90% of Western world are Christian. And I think that christianism is nothing but that whay you just said: "century old religious and moralic views". What do you say to me about Sarah Palin? The Pope? Most perfect way to describe religious-dumb and political oppressor. So, you can say that Arab world suck, but I can't agree if you point that as the main reason.

Neither the pope nor Sarah Palin are political oppressors in ANY WAY. Despite their high rank and function, they have NO CONTROL whatsoever over an average European or American person. And Sarah Palin? Governor of Alaska and otherwise utterly failed candidate for vice presidency. She contributed significantly in McCain losing the election. So, Palin is actually an argument AGAINST you.
It means you live in a pacific country, which is great. Still doesn't make the Arab world's culture suck. That is my point.
That's your point! But I see no argument for that, except "no culture is better than another". SOMETHING sucks in the Arabian world BECAUSE violence is a part of it. Ok, let's not call it "culture". Fine? The violence and discrimination suck, but if you're not man enough to work out a term for it, we'll never find any common ground.
But, so you know, German was not ALWAYS a peaceful place to live. Just to point one European spot.
Thanks for reminding me, I almost forgot! Maybe that's why Germany used to suck, and thank God (sic) it developed to a more pacifistic, secular society? We're all coming from the same Stone Age if you look back far enough, d'oh.
I started the discussion because people (in that case, you and Belgarion) were misapplying the term culture to justify your hatred upon people who suffer from it's political systems.
I won't even start to freak out over this sentence because it's so full of crap. Justify, hatred, people who suffer from their own political system...
Ethnocentrism occurs when one culture or nation places itself at the top of an imagined hierarchy of cultures and nations and subsequently assigns other cultures and nations equivalent or lower value on that scale.
You don't get a single thing. I never said Germany was the best. I never said all others should strive to become like Germany. In fact, I despise many things about Germany, and I also wrote that in this topic!

But you conveniently ignored that so you could make me a nationalist or ethnocentrist or any other such crap.

I am sorry I assign a lower value to societies with much higher parts of violence, corruption, discrimination, oppression, etc. I must be mad valueing improvements many people have strived for higher than cultures without these improvements!
Joost wrote:But you are ignorning the point of my previous post here. The point of my previous post was that whether a country is a part of the 'Western World' or not should not be judged by the amount of influence that country has culturally or technologically
Well I was not ignoring that! You are ignoring my point:

I wanted to explain how a typical attribute of the Western World is the laicism and being secular, as opposed to the Arabian/Muslim countries. This laicism mainly stems from France, but took hold of almost entire Europe after a while. South America has nothing to do with this. Brazil has nothing to do with this.

What I am really annoyed about in this topic is the lack of empathy for the other participators (yea, feel free to find that a funny thing coming from me). Instead, it's all about that 1 word somebody used even if one has tried to relativise it or elaborated about the intention behind it, and about textbook definitions of this or that while nobody apparently wants to touch the core of the discussion, which was the darkness in which most of the Arabian world are living.

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#75 Post by Belgarion » 17 Apr 2009 14:14

Kankra wrote:nobody apparently wants to touch the core of the discussion, which was the darkness in which most of the Arabian world are living.
That's not true. We were indeed discussing the reason behind the darkness in the Arabic world a few posts back, if you remember. I personally blame the opressive nature of Islam for that, but am open to any other theories as to why the Arabic world is the way it is. Why has the decline started? Why couldn't they get on their feet even today? Questions to be answered.
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#76 Post by Joost » 17 Apr 2009 15:29

Kankra wrote:Honestly? What is this political correctness textbook blabla? Of course the German "way of things" is superior to the average Arabian/Muslim "way of things" in exactly the examples that I mentioned: condemnation of violence, religious freedom, emancipation, etc. If you say the opposite, I don't know what to tell you. You have no clue? You've been hit on the head? In all these examples that I have mentioned, the German way is objectively better. How can acceptance of violence be better than condemnation of violence? How can oppression and discrimination be better than freedom and equality?
In many traditional views of morality, a thing like honour is considered to be of higher value than a thing like pacifism. And honour can, for example, be a justification for violence in some cases. (You wouldn't find any culture on earth that would justify 'random' violence against anyone, without a special reason for it — however misguided those reasons sometimes may be.) Of course, you and I disagree with this, but is this disagreement really objective?

There are large philosophical problems with the notion of objective morality. It is not something that we just find in the universe and of which we can establish the existence with empirical sciences. To say anything about one type of morality being 'better' than another, you almost have to resort to some higher (religious) power as a hypothesized 'provider' of this morality. Religions, of course, do this, and while their moral views can be consistent, their claims to morality have no empirical basis whatsoever. If you are able to present a sound empirical basis of objective morality that does not make use of pre-conceived values, be my guest. (And start writing your Ph.D thesis in philosophy soon, because what you just found is just some type of holy grail in 2500 years of philosophy!)

Also note that a lot of different people, including Christians or Muslims, claim that some kind of objective morality exists, and somehow they all are quite convinced that the morality they believe in, is 'true' morality. In the case of disagreements of a factual nature (e.g. heliocentrism vs. geocentrism), there are agreed on ways to test the nature of reality through experimentation, and eventually there will be some type of agreement most of the time. In the case of morality, this is much more difficult if not impossible to achieve, because we do not have any agreed on method of testing moral statements. What does it really mean for objective morality to exist, if it can't be grasped by all of mankind, and if there is no reward or punishment in an afterlife either?

I know this again is tending to make the issue go off-topic, but I want you to acknowledge that at least it's not that simple to simply claim the existence of objective morality and provide an empirical basis for it.
Neither the pope nor Sarah Palin are political oppressors in ANY WAY. Despite their high rank and function, they have NO CONTROL whatsoever over an average European or American person.
The pope not a political oppressor? Bullshit. He manages to, directly or indirectly, through his powers, make millions of Africans believe that using condoms is bad, thus bringing entire countries at the brink of devastation due to overpopulation and AIDS. If that is not political oppression, I do not know what is. The pope may not have any political power over you or me, but that does in no way mean he has none whatsoever.
Well I was not ignoring that! You are ignoring my point:

I wanted to explain how a typical attribute of the Western World is the laicism and being secular, as opposed to the Arabian/Muslim countries. This laicism mainly stems from France, but took hold of almost entire Europe after a while. South America has nothing to do with this. Brazil has nothing to do with this.

What I am really annoyed about in this topic is the lack of empathy for the other participators (yea, feel free to find that a funny thing coming from me). Instead, it's all about that 1 word somebody used even if one has tried to relativise it or elaborated about the intention behind it, and about textbook definitions of this or that while nobody apparently wants to touch the core of the discussion, which was the darkness in which most of the Arabian world are living.
No, but I think — philosophical quandaries about absolutism and relativism of morality aside — that everyone here (or at least everyone besides Wicked Child, and even he would probably agree to it in some way) agrees that Muslim fundamentalism is bad, and that Western secularism should be preferred over it.

I can't really discuss with you about that topic, simply because I agree with you. I can, however, discuss with you on the points where I disagree with you (such as moral absolutism, and how to define the 'Western World') but if you consider that as going off-topic, then so be it.

It's an interesting question how the situation of a backward Arab world arose, and Belgarion provided some very worthy input on that subject matter, but I just don't have anything valuable to add to it.



(As an aside: one thing I never really understood, is how human civilization first started in the area that now is Iraq -- between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, but how its centre continuously has shifted westwards and northwards. First to Greece, then to the Roman empire, then to northern/western Europe, and (arguably) now to America. Is this just random and coincidental? Or is there a reason why a pattern such as this has emerged?)
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#77 Post by Wicked Child » 17 Apr 2009 20:13

Well, I think this will be my last statement on this topic.
I suck very hard on english language and obviously Joost and Kankra are lightyears beyond me on that, so that may have my ideas a little bit hard to assimilate. Eventhough, I can tell you this:

I am would define my line of thought as extremely progressist and libertarian. A leftist, if you like.

So, I couldn't agree more that all natios in the world should be living on equality, freedom, peace and love.

I am TOTALLY against all kinds of manipulation tools that there are, including religion (as I already said).

Totally against the an eye for an eye, as Kankra said. Nepotism, vendettas, hate crimes and stuff...

I am also an atheistic, when it comes to religion, but not a sceptic.

I'm just tracing my thought's profile so you can maybe understand me a little better (once I can't help my bad writing).

@Kankra:
So, I first started replying back on you, because you always claimed on your posts that there was an objective thing about everything. The world is not painted black and white.
This got much more evident, when you said you didn't believe in "HUMAN" sciences.

I think at the end you really made your point. You're worried about "the darkness that the arabic world lives in". I get it. I'm just saying we're not far from it you know. Your criticize always aimed China and other eastern countries when there are the same problems in front of your face!
I see everyday on my sidewalk people lying there, dirty, hunger, homeless.. On most part of the occident a gay person cannot be fully free. What kind of superiority is that? My country has no religious fanatics or radical muslims or whatever, but still the poverty is our biggest problem.

Now, THAT is touching the core of the discussion. I felt you were just sitting upon all human kind's problems and saying it is all about how Arab world's suck.. You tried to minimize ALL of the Occident flaws. I just can't go along with that. That's a biased and an unfair sight.
You took Latin America out of the Occident Wolrd, why then? You probably know that there are deep social problems here, but you can't accept these nations to stain your perfect world, can you?

You think political correctness is blablabla, so you can say things like "you suck because you believe in the X god or live in the Y country", without taking responsability for that. Political correctness is a way of mutual respect and a way not to judge people based on what YOU think is "objectively" right. I think that's the core of our differences of thoughts.

Political correctness for me, is a way to live in harmony with diversity. I'm not saying we shall understand violence and women oppression, though. Saying we're better and "we, in the occident, don't do this" is just lying to outrselves. Because when you say our culture, or if not, our lives, or our laws are better, you're pointing at those people and saying: I'm not part of you. But you are. All my antropological effort was to show you that we are all equal and all social problems are HUMANKIND's problems.

I am man enough to feel bad for Arabic world's faults as being also MY fault. You are probably not.

Read back your posts..

"Atm millions of Chinese people are nothing more than oppressed slaves of the system"

Unless you are the system, you are a slave of the system.

"The oil-rich Arabian countries on the other hand... they just suck"

"Were the Arabs a people in Civilization, they'd be on the bottom of the list"

"Without oil, they'd still ride on fucking camels and were busy declaring a djihad on their neighbours for stealing a goat of theirs."

"Dats right, I am mostly talking about the culture there, not the religion"

The Western influence will, some day, lead to an awakening similar to the European Enlightenment in the 18th century.

"Yes, the German culture is superior to the culture of your average Muslim country in the Middle East. There you go, I said it."

Now, you come and say "I never said Germany was the best. I never said all others should strive to become like Germany".

Now you know why political correctess is not just a load of crap?

Textbook definitions was the better way I found out to explain why you were wrong using incorrect terms to justify a biased opinion about social questions. Usually, If I said "you're wrong", you would ask why, then I would say "antropology says you're wrong", and then you'd ask me to prove it. I was just trying to avoid that.
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#78 Post by faery » 18 Apr 2009 08:59

The term "culture" sucks for multiple reasons (4 to be exact, it was a question on my anthropology exam), which basically come down to that the concept is too vague. So please stop using that term here, because it does not do us much good, I think.

Wow, you people (mostly Kankra and Belgarion) are generalizing your ass off here, and being rude, racist and judgemental. I am not going to quote everything I read, but I saw stuff like "folk are ruled as they deserved" and "all Muslim countries are bad" and more things like that.

You know, no-one of you is a specialist in these topics, but you all seem to have quite firm opinions on it. Who knows if the people from those countries do not try to do things against their government, who knows there might be good reasons why they don't. Most people just want to live you know, they just want to be happy, and will try that in any environment they are put in. If any of us would be born there instead of where we live now, we would probably do the same. "Real" activists are quite rare.
I'm also quite opposed to the "all Arab countries are evil"-point that has been made a few times. It seems that is all based on fear. Yes, there clearly is stuff wrong over there, like the lack of seperation between church and state which I value quite a lot, and the lack of rights for women and homosexuals, but the whole violence-argument doesn't really make sense. The western world also uses violence, in great quantities; ever been to a demonstration for example? Not to mention that we might not use physical violence, but we very certainly use legal violence if we don't like people: nasty custody and divorce cases and everything. Although not technically violent, those things can clearly be acts of aggression.
I could go on, but I don't think that would do much good. Just wanted to make a small contribution to this discussion.

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#79 Post by t.a.j. » 18 Apr 2009 11:03

Joost wrote: (As an aside: one thing I never really understood, is how human civilization first started in the area that now is Iraq -- between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, but how its centre continuously has shifted westwards and northwards. First to Greece, then to the Roman empire, then to northern/western Europe, and (arguably) now to America. Is this just random and coincidental? Or is there a reason why a pattern such as this has emerged?)
An idea for the general shape of an explanation:
Leg one: With advancing technology (both concerning social organization and tool making and use) less fertile areas can yield enough crops to support groups of specialist, who do need to be engaged in food production. In more fertile areas, less refined technology is necessary to thrive. Thus only with time and technological adaption do the less fertile northern areas become accessible.
Leg two: A combination of other resources (like iron, coal, horses, pigs and so on) being available in those less fertile climates and of a continued technological adaption, due to the pressures of the less habitable environment.

Of course, specific movements track back, climatic changes are not taken into account and so forth, but I'm at least fairly convinced of Leg one. At least for the Afro-european groups, I think the pattern holds. Of course America is quite a special case, because for one thing it's late accessability and for another it's climatic factors throw the explanation a monkey wrench. But I do think a similar pattern arises in eastern Asia, where civilization also spreads from the fertile chinese plain to more outlying areas. Centers of power have not shifted much in that part of the world, though.
Not sure about the pre-invasion Americas, though.
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#80 Post by t.a.j. » 18 Apr 2009 11:47

As a second thought: there are no cultures, there are cultural practices practiced within groups of intercommunicating people, some of which may be shared with other groups, while others may not. Whatever you may feel or think about yourself and your mates, "culture" does not refer to a thing. There is not german culture, no muslim culture, no western culture. All of these are illusions dreamed up by the desire to simplify the multiplicity of the world and uses as tools for exclusion from and inclusion in your own group.

So if you want to discuss abhorrent practices, discuss those practices and no the social group within which you currently see it. The cultural sphere is by it's nature fluid and everchanging, supervening on the interactions of people within groups and not a person, nor a group is well defined by a set of it's current or past practices, because depending on what practices you pick, you get very different group constellations.

So let go of your nationalist misconceptions and try to give concise and atriculated reasons why certain practices are worse then others and maybe, if we try hard enough, this may lead to the holy grail of philosophy that Joost mentioned - some universal and objective ethical standards that is available to our reasoned understanding.

I for one try to be optimistic in that regard.

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#81 Post by Joost » 18 Apr 2009 11:52

faery wrote:The term "culture" sucks for multiple reasons (4 to be exact, it was a question on my anthropology exam), which basically come down to that the concept is too vague. So please stop using that term here, because it does not do us much good, I think.

Wow, you people (mostly Kankra and Belgarion) are generalizing your ass off here, and being rude, racist and judgemental. I am not going to quote everything I read, but I saw stuff like "folk are ruled as they deserved" and "all Muslim countries are bad" and more things like that.

You know, no-one of you is a specialist in these topics, but you all seem to have quite firm opinions on it. Who knows if the people from those countries do not try to do things against their government, who knows there might be good reasons why they don't. Most people just want to live you know, they just want to be happy, and will try that in any environment they are put in. If any of us would be born there instead of where we live now, we would probably do the same. "Real" activists are quite rare.
I'm also quite opposed to the "all Arab countries are evil"-point that has been made a few times. It seems that is all based on fear. Yes, there clearly is stuff wrong over there, like the lack of seperation between church and state which I value quite a lot, and the lack of rights for women and homosexuals, but the whole violence-argument doesn't really make sense. The western world also uses violence, in great quantities; ever been to a demonstration for example? Not to mention that we might not use physical violence, but we very certainly use legal violence if we don't like people: nasty custody and divorce cases and everything. Although not technically violent, those things can clearly be acts of aggression.
I could go on, but I don't think that would do much good. Just wanted to make a small contribution to this discussion.
I think I don't really even get this post.

Racism in this topic? There have been a few rude remarks here, but as far as I remember, none of them were even close to racist. If considering an open, secular, western culture with equal rights for everyone superior to a oppressive, fundamentalist culture where women and gay people have no rights is now 'racist', then I guess I'm a racist too.

Calling the participants in a discussion racist without even going into details or explaining your stance at all, is annoying, old, and frankly quite pathetic.

Kankra has gone maybe a bit far in this topic here and there (I also think some of his remarks were over-generalizing, but none of them were what I would call 'racist'), but I can understand Belgarion's position perfectly. I would feel the same if I lived in Turkey and was a silent witness to the 'desecularization' of the country, and the fundamentalists ever gaining ground.

What then comes is close to what appears to be a sort of appeal to authority, followed by a bunch of truisms that hardly seem to counter anything written earlier in this topic. . And it is democracy that kind of hinges on the idea that anyone, not just experts, has the right to form an opinion, and that these views should be judged on their merits (or lack thereof), rather than on the authority of their author.
I'm also quite opposed to the "all Arab countries are evil"-point that has been made a few times.
'That has been made a few times'? What? Where? The original argument that was made, was a lot more nuanced than this. What are you doing here is making an enormous straw man — putting things into the mouths of other people — and then suddenly going on with "Yes, there clearly is stuff wrong over there". Which was exactly what was being discussed.

And then you go on by saying that the Western world has violence too. Yes, we've noticed. But the point was pretty much that Western secularism should be preferred over a society where oppression of minority groups is pretty much the rule. And that the Western 'way' is, in a sense clearly superior (whether objectively or subjectively) to backward fundamentalist ways. And that's not racist. I would much rather call it anti-racist. The key to eliminating racism has not been saying "if people in that and that place want to continue holding slaves and treating black people as inferior to whites, it's their right, their self-determination to do so". The key to eliminating racism has been forcing through an agenda of equality and humanist values and trying to make it replace earlier values based on intrinsic superiority of some groups of people above others. If you extend the anti-racist agenda to things like women's rights and LGBT rights (and I the women's rights and gay rights agendas are closely related to the anti-racist agenda), it makes perfect sense to now adopt an attitude just like that towards societies where women and gay people are oppressed.

The Western world isn't perfect, there are flaws — nobody here has claimed otherwise in any way. But if I read (like I did yesterday) about gay people in Iraq being put to death by angry mobs, I just can't fathom why anyone would treat this with a "well, we can't judge them, we have our flaws too" or anything along those lines. Rather, I am inclined to think "okay, something has to be done about this, and if that means forcing our morality and our values onto their society, then so be it".
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#82 Post by faery » 18 Apr 2009 12:25

I might have reacted more emotionally than really argument-founded on this topic. Maybe I've read too much between the lines. I apologize if I have offended anyone.

What basically got me going was reading something like "folk are ruled as they deserved" and the fact that to me it seemed people did say things that Western culture is "better" than Arabic culture. That is of course a very "short trough the corner" point which was not said literary here, but it is how I interpreted it. I might have been wrong there.

I do think things should be done about the things you mention, but I am very careful in judging the people living there (which I feel that has happened in this topic) who "do not do anything about it", because I think acting up against the general opinion/state opinion is a very difficult thing to do. And I have no clear opinion on forcing our ideas and way of living upon others. At this moment I lean more towards the stance that we should not do that, but since I also think things should change, that stance is not stable.

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#83 Post by Belgarion » 18 Apr 2009 12:46

faery wrote:Wow, you people (mostly Kankra and Belgarion) are generalizing your ass off here, and being rude, racist and judgemental. I am not going to quote everything I read, but I saw stuff like "folk are ruled as they deserved" and "all Muslim countries are bad" and more things like that.
Wow, the racism card again. I don't see how I am (or Kankra) being racist here. I've clearly expressed my opinions and if you can pull out "racism" from my line of thoughts, then you are incapable of understanding what you read. When did being realistic and talking about problems of a nation become racist? "All muslim countries are bad"? Where did that come from? That's just proven my point above.

And yes, I'm being judgemental. What's wrong with that? I'm judgemental to my own country and expect to have the right to judge the others where I see fit. This political correctness is killing me. And mind you, I'll judge even your western, shiny, perfect, happy world when I'll see fit.
You know, no-one of you is a specialist in these topics, but you all seem to have quite firm opinions on it.
I think I deserve to have a firm opinion on these topics since 1)I was born a Muslim (I'm an atheist for a long time now) 2)I live in a Muslim country that has much closer ties with the Arabic league than your average European country does, due to historical and religious reasons.

And since I live everyday of my life among Muslims of every type and have a greater chance to actually observe the rationale of both the normal Muslims and the religious fundamentalists than you do, I actually have developed quite a stance toward these events. Religious fundamentalism is a reality for me and my country and it does
pose a threat to the secular system, thus a threat to the way I live freely in the absence of any religious opression. Unlike you.

And considering the proximity of Iraq and Iran to Turkey and knowing that whatever happens there directly affects my country much more than it affects yours, I have every right to stand against it and criticize it when I see fit.
Who knows if the people from those countries do not try to do things against their government, who knows there might be good reasons why they don't. Most people just want to live you know, they just want to be happy, and will try that in any environment they are put in. If any of us would be born there instead of where we live now, we would probably do the same. "Real" activists are quite rare.
Who knows? Well, everyone who has the slightest interest in the politics of the outside world knows, that's who. There are no good reasons why they want to stay the same. Everyone wants to be happy but also everyone should welcome the chance of being happier. Those who embrace the latter, the few intellectuals from these countries, are either killed or forced to flee to Europe or the USA. As I said, the change can't come overnight, but there has to be some kind of a spark to start the process. Any kind of spark in these countries gets put out real fast.
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#84 Post by Belgarion » 18 Apr 2009 12:53

Thank you Joost for explaining the point much better than I did.
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#85 Post by faery » 18 Apr 2009 12:55

So please note that I actually apologized.

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#86 Post by Belgarion » 18 Apr 2009 12:57

I've noticed it after I posted my reply. Sorry.
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#87 Post by Joost » 18 Apr 2009 13:03

faery wrote:and the fact that to me it seemed people did say things that Western culture is "better" than Arabic culture.
But aspects of it definitely are. I much rather would live in the Netherlands than in any Arab country, as my freedom to live the type of life I want to live is warranted much more here than over there. From this (subjective, of course) point of view, Western culture is indeed better than Arabic country.

And I would not simply make Islam the culprit of everything that is wrong in the world, and I definitely would not regard the people there as some kind of untermenschen who are intrinsically inferior by their very being. After all, I am not a racist. I just want to emphasize that some things are very wrong in some Arab countries/cultures/societies, and I want to express my wish that some change can be brought about on that area.
I do think things should be done about the things you mention, but I am very careful in judging the people living there (which I feel that has happened in this topic) who "do not do anything about it", because I think acting up against the general opinion/state opinion is a very difficult thing to do.
It is, and I think that's exactly why anti-racism is connected to heroic figures such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. People who did speak out against the general opinion or state opinion, and who acted on it.

What those people did, however, was indeed quite extraordinary, and not something you can just expect from any normal person. I don't think the ordinary people can be blamed for living in a society that is quite backwards in their treatment of certain people. Just like I don't think ordinary people who lived in Nazi Germany during WW2 can be held responsible for what happened there. Up to WW2, antisemitism was a perfectly normal thing, not only in Germany, but in large parts of the Western world. That it took a bloody war with millions of people killed to change this attitude, is very sad, but in the end it did change, in a timespan of only a few decades. Also, attitudes in the west to women, to black people, to gay people, have changed a lot in a rather short period. Bringing about change is not just some naive idealistic wish, but is in fact a very realistic hope.

You can't bring about real change without first acknowledging that something is wrong. And I think we should be optimists, and believe that this change can be brought about in those parts of the world where certain humans are still treated in a backward way, rather than be led by some relativism-gone-awry and resort to a remark like "we can't judge them". (I'm a moral relativist myself, but probably more in a philosophical sense than in a pracitcal sense.)
And I have no clear opinion on forcing our ideas and way of living upon others. At this moment I lean more towards the stance that we should not do that, but since I also think things should change, that stance is not stable.
My opinion tends a bit to 'we should, but I am not sure how'. Perhaps it is exactly because of this reason, that I support an EU membership of Turkey. People may argue that Turkey is 'not ready for it', but I think a membership of the EU might just force them into the right direction, and reverse the process of desecularization that seems to be going on there as of late.
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#88 Post by faery » 19 Apr 2009 09:14

Joost wrote:
I do think things should be done about the things you mention, but I am very careful in judging the people living there (which I feel that has happened in this topic) who "do not do anything about it", because I think acting up against the general opinion/state opinion is a very difficult thing to do.
It is, and I think that's exactly why anti-racism is connected to heroic figures such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. People who did speak out against the general opinion or state opinion, and who acted on it.

What those people did, however, was indeed quite extraordinary, and not something you can just expect from any normal person. I don't think the ordinary people can be blamed for living in a society that is quite backwards in their treatment of certain people. Just like I don't think ordinary people who lived in Nazi Germany during WW2 can be held responsible for what happened there. Up to WW2, antisemitism was a perfectly normal thing, not only in Germany, but in large parts of the Western world. That it took a bloody war with millions of people killed to change this attitude, is very sad, but in the end it did change, in a timespan of only a few decades. Also, attitudes in the west to women, to black people, to gay people, have changed a lot in a rather short period. Bringing about change is not just some naive idealistic wish, but is in fact a very realistic hope.
That was basically the point I was trying to make, just less well-written :)

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#89 Post by Wicked Child » 20 Apr 2009 02:48

@Joost:
I think we have agreed in a lot of things on several threads in this forum, specially on political issues or about human rights and stuff. There are some things, though, that I am trying to push even beyond the brilliant posts about subjectiveness and objectiveness that you made.

This would be still on my theory about one policy/way of living/political system (I'll try not use the polemic word, which, should definetely gain a censor :lol: ) being better than others.

The reasons why I think that we cannot look over HUMAN issues on other parts of the world and try to, as you said "force them into the right direction" are somethings you mentioned: 1) Who will force and how are they going to do? I think that only a DEMOCRATIC UN could do so, then I'd agree with it. 2) Everytime you think "something has to be done about this, and if that means forcing our morality and our values onto their society, then so be it", we must remember what kind of morality we want to export. I know, of course, that you were speaking of our very best sense of humanity, as you are a defensor of equal rights yourself, but is it what we have seen so far? Most countries, considered as "economic forces" and "great leaders of the world" have supported the exportation of democracy into Iraq and we know that wasn't actually democracy what arrived there (maybe it got lost somewhere on the travel :wink: ). Haven't seen these leaders exporting democracy on non-oil-rich fields. Eventhough I know that there are a few.
Of course we can't just overlook the flaws of the fundamentalists because they're within their culture. But the way I see, if they are not free from religion manipulation we, in the occident (Americas, Europe) are not free from money. I know, because I buy my freedom selling my workforce, as many here probably do too.

Just watch how people who can't get paid for their workforces live in my country. I must make a remark here, though, that our country has made a lot of improvements on this issue lately, but we still far from what I would call ideal.

So... if we aim freedom, we should spread freedom. I don't think we can't force anything. You could be, however, a determinant factor on a political process (like the chracters you mentioned).
The most peaceful places in the world, should work together as a psychologist for other countries. You know, a psychologist tends to work the best of their clients so HE - the client - can reach his epiphany. Something that will set him free from whatever it is that is affecting his health. The psychologist cannot slap his patient's face until he pulls himself out of depression. That is (in my metaphore) the political correctness.

We have a popular saying in Brazil that says: "You should not give the stick, but teach them how to fish".

I am, now, literally saying that you can only speak, as Kankra can only speak, and Belgarion can only speak, and as I can only speak for our respective countries, once we don't look for our brothers that are suffering from this same system in which we are healthy, or getting rich, or just 'ok'.

@faery:

That question about culture was probably on your exam because it was the best way to study different societies back then when Antropology was recognized as a science.
For nowadays, the most important question for an anhtropologist is Globalization. This thing that may replace the term culture from our books. The Globalization phenomenon and it's causes are widely studied by anthropologists in order to recognize the effective way that nations export or absorb the direct influences of each other, and who are those nations allowed to export their cultures, if there is some.
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#90 Post by faery » 20 Apr 2009 08:35

Well... I did not use the word culture, did I? Globalization is on of the arguments against the culture-concept, and it is an important process these years. If it is the most important I cannot say.
Btw, just to be clear: I am not an anthropology-student, I'm a research-psychologist with a broad range of interests ;)

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#91 Post by Wicked Child » 20 Apr 2009 13:56

faery wrote:Well... I did not use the word culture, did I?
faery wrote:The term "culture" sucks for multiple reasons (4 to be exact, it was a question on my anthropology exam)

Yes, you did. :P
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Re: Bet you 10 euros, within two years there'll be

#92 Post by spamel » 09 Nov 2010 12:51

I've just read this thread, and one of the major things I got from it apart from WOW Gold person before me is that the Pope is a political oppressor because he tells people in Africa not to bag up before a shag! I didn't know that using a condom was political! Maybe the Pope is giving out shit info to people that know no better, but I don't think he is politically motivated. He is motivated by his religion, which proves how outdated and stupid his religion is!
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Bet you 10 euros, within two years there'll be

#93 Post by Hansi Smurf » 09 Nov 2010 19:26

Full Disclosure: the complete audio/visual surveillance of every body, and a captain for every ten civilians, with the captains permission necessary for any individual, or group of individuals, for to be allowed outside the home! (and GPS-activated audio/visual surveillance, everywhere!)

Too, I forsee mandatory civilian fire-arms for all morally literate bodies, such as ourselves - even for the women!

I hope soon, too, that man-life will finish the IBM Photon Disintegrator, and thus allow for us all to make "photo-copy" hamburgers, bullets, boots, "and slaves too" :twisted: !

I hope you will all give up on your own trad-economies, and instead pursue the rational developement of self-replicating, interstellar-capable, flying houses: the sooner the better!

Me? Help build technocracy? Naw! I hate work! I'm gonna just hafta keep wasting all of your own precious time writing crappy adventure stories on Welfare! Really!

On Guard(ess) Bard(ess)!

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Last edited by Hansi Smurf on 21 Nov 2010 21:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bet you 10 euros, within two years there'll be

#94 Post by Frozen within » 18 Nov 2010 09:39

Well, if things keep on going like they do now, I´ll be getting 10 euro in 4 and a half months !
Eat more vegetables !

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Re: Bet you 10 euros, within two years there'll be

#95 Post by t.a.j. » 18 Nov 2010 11:29

I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad about that. But just in case, do we use the exchange rate from then or from now?
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