What is “Westernisation”?

A conversation on Facebook compelled this polemic.

There are two phenomena that we shouldn’t confuse: Global Westernisation and Tribal Westernisation.

Global Westernisation primarily involves all the ideas that Europeans picked up from all over the world, and heavily optimised, and which for a while they became the most vigorous exponents, and in some cases still are.

These include the erection of the natural sciences on the back of mathematical thinking. They borrowed much of this from India.

The use of mechanised warfare to gain advantage on the battlefield. They borrowed much of this from China , and from Sumeria in their earlier, Roman and Greek, incarnations.

Mass publications and the commoditisation of the written word. They borrowed the core essence of this from China.

Exclusionary, organised, monotheisms (the idea of ‘heathenism’ or that “other people’s gods are unworthy of any divinity at all”). They borrowed a lot of this thinking from Ancient Near East.

Utility clothing (eg. trousers and clinging shirts). They borrowed the general idea from the Mongols and other Eurasian nomadic warriors.

Monogamism. They borrowed this from Ancient Near East. etc. etc.

It is somewhat simplistic to ascribe the execution of all these ideas to the West in a tribal, exclusive, manner. Particularly when the modern offshoots of some of these ideas are inevitable outcomes of principles that had gained their deepest expression elsewhere.

For example, much of what is today’s stock exchange derived from principles of Jewish finance that were much derided in the West. To therefore assign stock market capitalism to westernisation in a primordial sense without understanding its roots deprive people of the ability to study the ‘deep essences’ of the phenomenon and connect their current expression with other insights about humanity in general.

Most people forget that much of Nazism’s rise owed to the effort of nativist Europeans to purge from their midst what they saw as alien practices in Church Religion, Capitalism, political organisation and modern philosophy.

Sometimes I laugh when people refer to names like, ‘John’, ‘Peter’ and ‘James’ as ‘European names’. I wonder what Himmler would have thought of that.

There is of course also tribal westernisation. Habits and rituals that are thoroughly European in origin. The thing is that they are quite rarer nowadays than one might suppose, and often not the target of radical non-European activists. Much of cultural fascism, for instance, owes to a unique strain of exclusionism born in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, as also is the austere collectivist philosophies we have come to know by such names as, Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism.

My general attitude to these things is one of moderation. The world is much too complex to hold overly strong opinions about such stuff. It is unlikely that on any subject that one might latch onto with the fervour of a radical that one knows enough to pronounce with the degree of certainty that one often does.

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