Is Romanticism What Sets The West Apart?

Throughout history and in parallels observable in the present-day, there are keen differences in the many institutions of culture, economy and polity between civilizations. But these differences, when abstracted, generally seem to share one common premise somewhere in the garbled causality links. The premise is the philosophy of Romanticism.

To give you a little historical insight, Romanticism is the philosophical movement that shaped up in a post-industrial Western Europe in the mid-18th century. It is believed to have been instigated by the poets, artists and philosophers in response to the paradigm shifts brought on by industrialization and the intimidating perplexities of modern civilization. These artists and poets thought that Romantic ideas were inherently what held the sanctity of the individual together, in attachment with their free and creative and spiritual side. Note that I use the words free and spiritual freely here – our discussion here pertains to a life philosophy, not one of epistemology or metaphysics. This idealism prompted the romantically-distraught to wage a war against the industrial establishment in their passionately-worded literature, paintings and philosophy. The cultural movement that manifested out of this collective ambition is then believed to have vastly set apart the post-industrial Western civilization from all others that were falling steadfastly into the age of industrialization.

Regressing through almost every civilization, excluding the West, one can distinctly see how the institutions of culture are designed to benefit the collective ambition of their peoples. Some markers may include those belonging to markets and society, for instance. Marriage is an apt contender to gain a deeper perspective on the lack of Romantic ideas in Eastern and Islamic cultures. I say this because the idea of wedlock adapted for the modern, post-industrial society calls upon a monogamous relationship on the part of the male subject and a hypergamous practice on the part of the female that draws upon a system of meritocratic honor. In the East, parents and extended family members are tasked with marrying off their children. This system, however contradictory to our evolutionary conditioning, orients the individual’s life decisions toward the greater prosperity of their family, and ultimately, society. Education isn’t much farther either, with much of what students learn aligning with the prevailing market scene. To these cultures, it is not the individual that is important, but the collective ambition and sustenance of their peoples. To them, the individual’s welfare is contained in their collective prosperity, rendering an ego-centric culture obsolete.

the cultural doctrine that one should live a life they want and do as they desire is unique to the West

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Islam: Ideology

I must confess at this time to losing count of posts I’ve written on Islam. The religion of peace just keeps giving me never-ending subject matter to talk about. Over the past days, I’ve unapologetically destroyed Islam (verbally). I discussed how Islam spreads and conquers foreign lands, keeping out external and internal political opposition in the process. This time, we will look at its fundamental ideology and try to make sense of what makes this epidemic movement keep sustaining itself and growing in their own demographic and among others – without bringing up dogma or scholarly beliefs but instead by realizing what it has morphed to in reality. Comparing dogmatic beliefs between Islam and other religions side-by-side have been a staple among conservative and atheistic debates and I don’t see a need to go through it again. The Quran allows unconsentual sex and the Bible calls for women to be sold to their rapists – but not everyone gets to do that (in Western countries). The dogma of Islam, or any religion for that matter, would come in irrelevant when discussing present-day cultural ideology.

if you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go together. -African Proverb

Let’s start off talking about Islam in foreign lands as I realize that’s a hard topic now – with many sides to it. There is this saying (quoted above) from an untraceable author on the power of unity. When people come together with a common cause, they constructively add up to become an indestructible political and cultural force that will stand the test of time. The kind of unity you see among Muslim communities where everybody has strongly shared beliefs is different from the local communities where people of Christian and other faiths or no faiths at all coexist with individualistic attitudes. In individualistic societies, people unite under the common cause of progressing their society as one, setting aside their personal indifferences because their paradigm calls for all individuals of society to be freely entitled to their own beliefs and opinions under the room of law – secularily practicing whatever they wish to practice. In collectivistic societies however, everybody is everybody else. An individual of such society is made to stay in agreement with what others of their society see fit toward the greater interests of their society – in simpler terms, they don’t have a fucking mind of their own. They exhibit similar patterns of thought, moral conscience that manifest in their ensuing actions. This leads to a clash of cultures when collectivistic cultures try to be part of individualistic countries. But it doesn’t end there, as with Islam, you are dealing with a bigger clash of civilizations.

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