Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by Xing » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 10:58

XXXVII wrote: I think we in the West (with our system of capitalism in firm grip) have somehow fallen under the impression that money and wealth is the be-all and end-all. In my estimation, it most assuredly is not, and there are many other factors that should be taken into account: artistic achievement, philosophy, medical knowledge, familial relations, etc. ad infinitum. In short, it is really really hard to determine the relative merit of a culture.
I don't know if I've ever met someone who claims that money or purely material goods is the "be-all and end-all". Though money can certainly be useful in order to achieve various goods - including non-material goods like education, science, cultural experiences, and other things. And I believe it's safe to say that people in western European societies - or societies that have been influence by western European culture - with its scientific, technological and economic prosperity - (whether it be transplant societies like, North America, or cultures that have adopted various of the achievements of western civilisation, like various Asian countries) are able to provide ordinary people with vastly superior opportunities to education, cultural experiences, medicine, and much more.
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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by thetha » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 16:53

XXXVII wrote:The Arabic world invented the concept of zero, revolutionizing mathematics... and they have/had amazing architecture and non-representational art that makes use of complicated geometry... I have always thought they were pretty cool (current terrorism and ridiculousness notwithstanding).
Everything I have heard says that India would be a far better candidate for a place that 'revolutionized' early mathematics, but I can't disagree with the rest of the stuff in this post.
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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by cybrxkhan » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 17:41

@Xing: I do agree it's a simplification to agree all civilizations are equal, but I do believe the Western prosperity and advancements accumulated through the past few centuries have been through sheer dumb luck, and not necessarily because of socio-cultural arrangements favorable to the creation of material and non-material goods.

Essentially, in my opinion, and based on what I've read, there are a few reasons why the Europeans got ahead of the rest of the world, and none of them have to do with socio-cultural arrangements, but rather luck of geography. Note, however, that I'm not advocating hard geographic determinism - rather, that due to geography, certain cultures were presented with different opportunities:

1. In Eurasia, Europe was originally the most left out of the trade networks that developed during the medieval era. With the fall of Constantinople, Europeans who wanted the riches from the Middle East and Asia (which was at the time the most prosperous places on earth), needed to somehow go around the Turks. This encouraged their exploration and so forth.
2. Europeans got the Americas because they were closer and because they needed to. Some historians ask why didn't China, India, or the Muslim world "discover" America, but others counter (and quite properly in my opinion) that the proper question is why would China, India, or the Muslim world need to discover America in the first place? Particularly in China and India, they already had an abundance of agricultural output, and they were already prosperous enough from the massive trade networks spanning the Indian Ocean (and to a lesser extent the declining Silk Road) - because they were the ones producing the stuff the rest of the world wanted (silk, spices, tea, coffee, etc.). Once the Europeans got the Americas, however, that began tipping the wealth towards their direction - though very slowly; they now had access to raw materials like never before, and could produce stuff the world wanted for once (whereas before they were the ones who wanted produced things from elsewhere). That's not to mention the Europeans really only conquered the Americas because of disease (and allying themselves with the right groups), and not technological superiority, in my opinion - the natives, while indeed "inferior" to the Europeans in some respects (though not others), were able to successfully fight back the Europeans simply because the gunpowder weaponry of the 1500s was pretty primitive, to say the least. Cannonballs were simply giant rock launchers, and Aztec troops quickly learned how to dodge them, for instance.
3. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain and not in China, even though both already had the prerequisites. Why? It has nothing to do with cultural differences, but sheer dumb luck. As one of my professors pointed out quite importantly, perhaps a better comparison would be bettween Britain and the lower Yangzi basin of China, which is a better comparison because the two are roughly equal in size (comparing Britain and China is a tad... unfair, to say the least), had extremely similar rates of agricultural, commercial, and industrial output before c. 1800, were already developing systems of home factories (leading in products such as textile or silk production and so forth), and were the leading centers of production before c. 1800 (Britain vs. Europe, lower Yangzi vs. China). However, in Britain, coal was found extremely close to many of these industrial sites; in China, however, the lower Yangzi had no such access to coal - the closest coal was hundreds if not thousands of miles away in the arid regions close to Tibet and Xinjiang. Therefore, in Britain, it was practical to use coal as an aid in industrial production - in China, not so much. Britain, though geographic luck, could use its coal to propel industrial revolution; China could not. Though I'm not sure on the specifics, I'm pretty sure a similar situation occurred in India and the Middle East. Anyhow, even up until 1800 China and India were still considered the leading economic and cultural centers of the world - Europeans, for instance, were particularly obsessed with China, with some Enlightenment scholars even going as far as saying how Chinese culture, language, writing system, and so on were superior and rational to that of the West, a sort of proto-weaboo type of attitude, to put it one way (though ironic, given that these same Enlightenment thinkers often thought of Asians as a race inferior to whites).


All that said, socio-cultural arrangements may or may not help in industrialization and/or world domination and what not. Meiji Japan, I think, is an excellent example of an alternative to European industrialization that showed a different socio-cultural arrangement that worked for Japan (and also why I think Japan is so important when we discuss these issues of Eurocentrism and industrialization - while Japan did have a number of similarities to Europe (so I've heard), it still proves that any group was capable of industrialization and being imperialist douchebags given the right circumstances)


I dunno why I ranted all this, but perhaps I think while your statement isn't necessarily false, I think we have to account for not only socio-cultural arrangements, but also historical, geographical, and economic factors as well. So perhaps its not that all civilizations are equal, but that all have the potential to do similar things given similar circumstances? I dunno. This sort of stuff is complex.
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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by Zontas » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 18:15

cybrxkhan wrote:@Xing:
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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by Xing » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 18:36

cybrxkhan wrote:
I dunno why I ranted all this, but perhaps I think while your statement isn't necessarily false, I think we have to account for not only socio-cultural arrangements, but also historical, geographical, and economic factors as well. So perhaps its not that all civilizations are equal, but that all have the potential to do similar things given similar circumstances? I dunno. This sort of stuff is complex.
Of course it need not be only "socio-cultural" factors; geography and various natural circumstances may also come into play. The question is their relative weight of the various factors; it's a complex question to which it's difficult to give a simple answer. Lack of natural resources may explain relative poverty in some areas (for example, isolated islands), while it may be a less plausible explanation in other cases. But one cannot jump to the conclusion that just because A is better off than B, it's because B is oppressed.
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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by cybrxkhan » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 18:43

Xing wrote:
cybrxkhan wrote:
I dunno why I ranted all this, but perhaps I think while your statement isn't necessarily false, I think we have to account for not only socio-cultural arrangements, but also historical, geographical, and economic factors as well. So perhaps its not that all civilizations are equal, but that all have the potential to do similar things given similar circumstances? I dunno. This sort of stuff is complex.
Of course it need not be only "socio-cultural" factors; geography and various natural circumstances may also come into play. The question is their relative weight of the various factors; it's a complex question to which it's difficult to give a simple answer. Lack of natural resources may explain relative poverty in some areas (for example, isolated islands), while it may be a less plausible explanation in other cases. But one cannot jump to the conclusion that just because A is better off than B, it's because B is oppressed.
From what I've read and learned over the years, it seems that I frankly don't put very much weight onto socio-cultural factors as you would, but fair enough.


Of course, a simpler explanation would be that the conworlder who created our world wanted the Europeans to take over. Hmm. Thinking about that, I wonder what sort of things he or she did to our world...
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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by Xing » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 18:56

cybrxkhan wrote: From what I've read and learned over the years, it seems that I frankly don't put very much weight onto socio-cultural factors as you would, but fair enough.
Yeah, it's an interesting discussion, but determining exactly which factors come into play at different times and different places would take a lot of detailed historical and economic arguments; probably much more than I have time and energy to dig into here.


Of course, a simpler explanation would be that the conworlder who created our world wanted the Europeans to take over. Hmm. Thinking about that, I wonder what sort of things he or she did to our world...
When i think about it, that seems much more plausible [:D]
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Re: Conversation Thread of the 3rd SPAM!

Post by Xonen » Sun 31 Mar 2013, 22:20

Omzinesý wrote:I think it's actually good to think that your part of the world is the best one. It's the only reason to live there.
Only if you use a really narrow definition of "best"; namely something along the lines of 'best place for me personally to reside in right now considering all current and foreseeable future circumstances, plus I really don't have money to move anywhere with a nicer climate anyway'. :roll: I have plenty of reasons for wanting live in Finland (and Europe, I guess), but thinking it's somehow objectively "better" than the entire rest of the world isn't one of them.
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Yačay256 » Thu 29 Aug 2013, 22:29

Well, in his last post, Cybrxkhan pretty much said what I would have about a large part of the economic history of the West. Thus, I would like to deal with the cultural issue that has been relatively neglected.

I would argue quite strongly that some cultures - NOT "races", this being a pseudoscientific myth, in fact - are superior to others by virtue of rationality, fairness (not necessarily equality; fairness does not require equality) and support for creativity and so on. Cultures can also be superior to others in some ways, equal in others and inferior in others still.

I will say that the West is not the best culture in the world from a moral standpoint, even within living memory: Look at all the horrible things the EU and the USA did to Vietnam, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Brazil, India, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, South Africa, the DRC or Palestine or for that matter against other Westerners in the Holocaust, in the Jim Crow Southern USA, during Stalin's Great Purge, between Argentina and the UK or frankly in either and both world wars. (Note that I would not consider Latin America south of the US and north of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile as part of the West but a complex spectrum of fusion cultures dominated by the civilizations of Mesoamerica, the Andes, and the West and to a lesser extent West and Central Africa and to a lesser extent the Isthmo-Colombian Area.) Granted, a minority of Western countries make up a good portion, perhaps a majority, of the most decent countries, such as Switzerland, all the Nordic countries or Aotearoa/New Zealand - alongside many non-Western countries like Singapore, Mauritius, Costa Rica and Bhutan.

Before living memory and after the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, it is quite obvious that the West was inferior to its contemporaries in various cultural ways:

The Inka were vastly culturally superior to the West in terms of morals and fairness, from their remarkably high regard for women, their elimination of homelessness and famine to their far fairer treatment of outsiders - which, of course led to their demise, when Atawallpa expected Pizarro's thugs to show some basic respect for human dignity in Kasamarka. On a related note, the Inka State also did more for its subjects than exploit them for money (which they lacked anyway) and force them to hope for the effects of trickle down economics to eventually give them something (which was, and still is, the essential model of Early Modern (and Modern) European Capitalism) in the form of a few coins being thrown at them by the Doge or the Queen building a sick house for the elderly: They built aqueducts longer than any Roman aqueduct, had nightsoil collection services to dispose of waste, they built storehouses to keep food and goods for the people so they would never be as poor as a European serf or even free peasant and, while they forced their people to work hard at building such things - in addition to palaces and wak'akuna (sg: wak'a: Quechua for "revered or sacred thing or place"), the people got to travel in this form of civil conscription - known as mit'a, reciprocal help - and thus see and travel much more and for far greater distances than any European state's general populace at the time.

The Chinese were vastly superior in terms of promoting creativity and their society is still much more inventive than many Western societies as a whole. Given that the Chinese are so famous in their numerous spectacular inventions, ranging from multi-stage rockets and the Bessemer process to the smallpox vaccine and tofu, I will not go into any more detail on this. But note that, to paraphrase something that Kenneth Pommeranz states in "The Great Divergence", Chinese Civilization never had a problem with a large and backward religious institution that discouraged independent thought in the name of religion. Nor did the Chinese have an established priesthood after the Shang Dynasty.

That is all for now, but I will say that I have finally and conclusively put the nail in the coffin of Western moral superiority, even among other state-level societies.

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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Thakowsaizmu » Fri 30 Aug 2013, 00:06

Yačay256 wrote: But note that, to paraphrase something that Kenneth Pommeranz states in "The Great Divergence", Chinese Civilization never had a problem with a large and backward religious institution that discouraged independent thought in the name of religion. Nor did the Chinese have an established priesthood after the Shang Dynasty.
Yes, they have. In fact, it was religious forces that led to the fall of the Han dynasty. Confucianism, though not a religion by certain Western standards, is an institutionalized State philosophy that has at times both propelled and constrained Chinese advancement. Daoism has been at times actively suppressed for fears that it would lead to dismantling of the Imperial order, cause revolutions or what have you. Buddhists have actively worked against more than one Chinese Empire. To assume otherwise is actually pretty Eurocentric, that the Chinese are somehow a mystical other kind of people who have special exemption from religion.
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 30 Aug 2013, 00:53

Thakowsaizmu wrote:
Yačay256 wrote: But note that, to paraphrase something that Kenneth Pommeranz states in "The Great Divergence", Chinese Civilization never had a problem with a large and backward religious institution that discouraged independent thought in the name of religion. Nor did the Chinese have an established priesthood after the Shang Dynasty.
Yes, they have. In fact, it was religious forces that led to the fall of the Han dynasty. Confucianism, though not a religion by certain Western standards, is an institutionalized State philosophy that has at times both propelled and constrained Chinese advancement. Daoism has been at times actively suppressed for fears that it would lead to dismantling of the Imperial order, cause revolutions or what have you. Buddhists have actively worked against more than one Chinese Empire. To assume otherwise is actually pretty Eurocentric, that the Chinese are somehow a mystical other kind of people who have special exemption from religion.
Indeed - China has had probably more problems with religion than Europe has had. China has been continually plagued by religious uprisings - taoists, buddhists, christians, muslims, manichaeans and everything else imaginable - and that's why it's tended to be more religiously and intellectually oppressive than Europe. Barring brief exceptional periods, China had the equivalent of Europe's circa 1000-1400 Catholicism, but for two and a half millennia. Of course, Confucianism (or briefly Legalism) isn't the same as Catholicism, so it looked different, but on a functional level...

...and then in the 19th century the paranoia turned out to be have been justified, since the religious wars in 19th century China are probably the third or fourth most apocalyptic wars in the history of the world (only WWII and Genghis Khan's wars are clearly more horrible). Probably twice the deathtoll of all the European religious wars put together...
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Yačay256 » Fri 30 Aug 2013, 02:11

Salmoneus wrote:
Thakowsaizmu wrote:
Yačay256 wrote: But note that, to paraphrase something that Kenneth Pommeranz states in "The Great Divergence", Chinese Civilization never had a problem with a large and backward religious institution that discouraged independent thought in the name of religion. Nor did the Chinese have an established priesthood after the Shang Dynasty.
Yes, they have. In fact, it was religious forces that led to the fall of the Han dynasty. Confucianism, though not a religion by certain Western standards, is an institutionalized State philosophy that has at times both propelled and constrained Chinese advancement. Daoism has been at times actively suppressed for fears that it would lead to dismantling of the Imperial order, cause revolutions or what have you. Buddhists have actively worked against more than one Chinese Empire. To assume otherwise is actually pretty Eurocentric, that the Chinese are somehow a mystical other kind of people who have special exemption from religion.
Indeed - China has had probably more problems with religion than Europe has had. China has been continually plagued by religious uprisings - taoists, buddhists, christians, muslims, manichaeans and everything else imaginable - and that's why it's tended to be more religiously and intellectually oppressive than Europe. Barring brief exceptional periods, China had the equivalent of Europe's circa 1000-1400 Catholicism, but for two and a half millennia. Of course, Confucianism (or briefly Legalism) isn't the same as Catholicism, so it looked different, but on a functional level...

...and then in the 19th century the paranoia turned out to be have been justified, since the religious wars in 19th century China are probably the third or fourth most apocalyptic wars in the history of the world (only WWII and Genghis Khan's wars are clearly more horrible). Probably twice the deathtoll of all the European religious wars put together...
I must have misquoted the part about the priesthood, but let's not nitpick here: It is absurd to say that China had anywhere near as many problems as the West did for most of its history. I would indeed say Confucianism is a mixture of "religion" and "philosophy", for lack of a better set of words. Perhaps it is better to state that China did not have an organized priesthood in the same way as the Mesoamericans and or the Westerners, if one counts the scholar-bureaucrats as priests.

The fact that there were religious uprisings actually somewhat proves my point that even Confucianism did not have a complete monopoly on people's ideas and basic thought that Christianity did in the West from between the Conversion of Constantine until the Enlightenment, because even before the Tang Dyansty - and the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution - we still have Chinese Folk Religion and Daoism more or less coexisting alongside each other and with the state's Confucianism, and all three, and other religions/philosophies, continue to coexist to this day: That is the equivalent of a single, Premodern, Western state after the Conversion of Constantine having Christianity, Islam and one or more of the many forms of European Paleopaganism coexisting beside each other without significant hostility for long periods of time, with only short bursts of, frankly more political than spiritual, large-scale purges like the aforementioned Tang Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution to break the peace about as often as Dynasties changed. And even today, the Riots in Ürumqi are nothing compared to the 9/11 Attacks, the 2011 Norwegian Terrorist Attacks, the Waco Siege or the Oklahoma City Bombings. How many abortion doctors are killed each year in China compared with the United States? How many times have Sikhs been attacked in China for "looking like Arabs/Muslims" (or whatever those idiotic Anglo-American racists think they are.) Finally, remember that many Muslims allied with the Qing against the Western invaders and Japan by declaring Jihad against the latter two on behalf of the former!

So sorry Salmoneus but your argument about China having more religious problems than the West is unfounded.
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Thakowsaizmu » Fri 30 Aug 2013, 02:44

Your tirade is so blatantly Eurocentric I honestly do not know where to begin. How many Sikhs have been killed in China for looking like Muslims? Seriously? How about how many Sikhs have been killed the world over for being Sikh? China hasn't had near as many problemmes as the West for most of its history? Seriously? I suppose the Disney Channel version of Chinese history is all flowers and Yin-Yang, but the reality is that no one holds a monopoly on social, economic or frankly any one particular problemme. Your post is one of the most ignorant things I have seen on this board in a very long time, and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of anything outside the world of America and Western Europe.

Europe never fully lost its indigenous religions, and there was never a monolithic, singular Catholic Church in Europe. Yeah, the Catholic Church managed to hold a lot of land, but even as late as the 900s there were not only pre-Christian religions flourishing, but even Christianity wasn't unified. In fact, it pretty much never has been. It's nice the Muslims allied with the Qing, but it wasn't all of the Islamic world, it was the Hui Chinese. Many Buddhists were actively opposed to the Qing, and popular Gongfu culture loves to tell the stories of their anti-Qing involvement.

How many abortion doctors are killed in China? I don't know. I'll get back to you on that after I recollect all the doctors, teachers and educated people who were killed as China "modernized". Remember that one? The one where Buddhists, Daoists and even Confucian scholars fled the mainland for fear of being put to death? Oh, that's right, China is all dragons and ancestor worship and gongfu, they have no problemmes ever. Just peace, social harmony and tea.
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 30 Aug 2013, 12:49

Thakowsaizmu wrote:Your tirade is so blatantly Eurocentric I honestly do not know where to begin. How many Sikhs have been killed in China for looking like Muslims? Seriously? How about how many Sikhs have been killed the world over for being Sikh? China hasn't had near as many problemmes as the West for most of its history? Seriously? I suppose the Disney Channel version of Chinese history is all flowers and Yin-Yang, but the reality is that no one holds a monopoly on social, economic or frankly any one particular problemme. Your post is one of the most ignorant things I have seen on this board in a very long time, and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of anything outside the world of America and Western Europe.
Don't have anything to add, but this deserved to be said at least twice.

OK, I will add this.
China? Religious tolerance? Here's the situation in 2012 (courtesy Freedom House):
Religious freedom is sharply curtailed. Religious and ethnic minorities remained a key target of repression in 2012, with several deaths in custody reported. All religious groups must register with the government, which regulates their activities, makes personnel decisions, and guides their theology. Some groups, including certain Buddhist and Christian sects, are forbidden, and their members face harassment, imprisonment, and torture. The CCP continues to devote considerable resources to suppressing the Falun Gong spiritual group and coercing adherents to renounce their beliefs. During the year, authorities abducted practitioners in home raids, sentenced them to labor camps and long prison terms, and punished those who appealed on their behalf. Other unregistered groups, including unofficial Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations, operate in a legal gray zone. State tolerance of them varies from place to place.

In the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, an increased security presence that followed ethnic clashes in 2009 remained in place for much of 2012, and many of the hundreds of people detained in 2009 remained imprisoned or unaccounted for. Authorities intensified curbs on Islam in the region, raiding private study sessions and destroying thousands of publications, including copies of the Koran. In May, a court in Kashgar sentenced nine people to between six and 15 years in prison for participating in “illegal” religious activities.


The thing is, this is how religion in china has mostly worked for thousands of years - it's not a new thing.
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by decem » Fri 30 Aug 2013, 23:16

Please don't confuse Eurocentrism with innocent unfamiliarity with foreign cultures. A huge amount of users on this forum and indeed all over the internet are European, or from a Western country based primarily on European values; and I believe that a lot of the time people are accidentally unaware of non-European cultures simply because they haven't had the chance to be educated about those other cultures. It seems to me that this non-deliberate lack of awareness is too frequently interpreted as deliberate Eurocentrism. It certainly is not, and you should take into account the possibility of this before calling someone an idiot because they praise Europe, when they can't informedly praise another part of the world since they don't know anything about it.
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 31 Aug 2013, 00:23

decem wrote:Please don't confuse Eurocentrism with innocent unfamiliarity with foreign cultures. A huge amount of users on this forum and indeed all over the internet are European, or from a Western country based primarily on European values; and I believe that a lot of the time people are accidentally unaware of non-European cultures simply because they haven't had the chance to be educated about those other cultures. It seems to me that this non-deliberate lack of awareness is too frequently interpreted as deliberate Eurocentrism. It certainly is not, and you should take into account the possibility of this before calling someone an idiot because they praise Europe, when they can't informedly praise another part of the world since they don't know anything about it.
The problem is that praising the noble savages in their utopias is just as eurocentric as damning them for their inadequacy.
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by decem » Sat 31 Aug 2013, 01:33

Salmoneus wrote:
decem wrote:Please don't confuse Eurocentrism with innocent unfamiliarity with foreign cultures. A huge amount of users on this forum and indeed all over the internet are European, or from a Western country based primarily on European values; and I believe that a lot of the time people are accidentally unaware of non-European cultures simply because they haven't had the chance to be educated about those other cultures. It seems to me that this non-deliberate lack of awareness is too frequently interpreted as deliberate Eurocentrism. It certainly is not, and you should take into account the possibility of this before calling someone an idiot because they praise Europe, when they can't informedly praise another part of the world since they don't know anything about it.
The problem is that praising the noble savages in their utopias is just as eurocentric as damning them for their inadequacy.
What?
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Thakowsaizmu » Sat 31 Aug 2013, 02:31

Erroneously believing that non-European cultures are somehow immune to issues that European cultures have encountered. Case in point, Yačay256 purporting that China has never had religiously fueled problemmes, or that China has somehow been immune to the myriad social, economic and, well, human issues that European cultures have faced. It is dehumanizing. It is saying that non-Europeans do not experience the same full range of the human condition, because they are from the mythic Orient. I am in no way saying that I believe his statements to be active Eurocentrism, it is actually a passive Eurocentrism that stems from not being exposed to or learning about other cultures. The real issue, though, it not his ignorance, but his ignorance coupled with his attempt at justifying dehumanization. I do not think it is malicious, I think it stems from a misunderstanding or lack of education in the area of, insofar as this topic, East Asian cultures. But intended or not, that does not change the fact that it is Eurocentric, and that the idea of the "noble savage" is just as dehumanizing as the idea of the "barbarian".
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Yačay256 » Sat 31 Aug 2013, 04:36

Thakowsaizmu wrote:Erroneously believing that non-European cultures are somehow immune to issues that European cultures have encountered. Case in point, Yačay256 purporting that China has never had religiously fueled problemmes, or that China has somehow been immune to the myriad social, economic and, well, human issues that European cultures have faced. It is dehumanizing. It is saying that non-Europeans do not experience the same full range of the human condition, because they are from the mythic Orient. I am in no way saying that I believe his statements to be active Eurocentrism, it is actually a passive Eurocentrism that stems from not being exposed to or learning about other cultures. The real issue, though, it not his ignorance, but his ignorance coupled with his attempt at justifying dehumanization. I do not think it is malicious, I think it stems from a misunderstanding or lack of education in the area of, insofar as this topic, East Asian cultures. But intended or not, that does not change the fact that it is Eurocentric, and that the idea of the "noble savage" is just as dehumanizing as the idea of the "barbarian".
I can see how I am being ethnocentric, but why am I being Eurocentric specifically? FYI I have read large amounts on Chinese (and Japanese. And Korean. And Vietnamese.) Civilization: Not just Kenneth Pommeranz's The Great Divergence and other secondary sources such as several of Needham's books, The Authentic Confucius and The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization but also documents written by Chinese People, such as the Analects, the Mozi, the Mencius, many of the poems of Du Fu and the Daodejing, so please, let's not get into that. Also, I do not say that Imperial China was anywhere near perfect: Footbinding and other forms of extreme sexism; castration for a large portion of political gain; an oppressive ageism that enslaved youth; and so on. But that is not the point: China was not the moral example - that was the Inka: Rather, it was the example showing the superiority of their culture in terms of intellectual freedom overall throughout history. You build up a straw man whenever you assert that I believe the Chinese are "noble savages" nor do I see the "East" (which is just a Eurocentric catch-all term anyway for everything east of the Bosporus and the Urals on Eurasia) as "mystical" - I in fact do not see any culture on Earth as particularly alien but rather I see each as having superiorities and inferiorities to the various others that in turn lead up to it being overall good, excellent, bad or horrible in relation to some hard to define and hypothetical average human culture. So then, I do not think China is either full of "noble savages" nor "mystical": I rather think they are, to give a quick and dirty explanation of the fact, an extremely complex, successful and ancient and modern civilization that is probably overall superior to the West in promoting intellectual creativity for reasons I have already mentioned.

Wait, why am I "Eurocentric" as opposed to just "ethnocentric" or even simply "biased"?
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Re: Eurocentrism [Split Topic]

Post by Thakowsaizmu » Sat 31 Aug 2013, 05:35

To put a fine point on it, Salmoneus actually first brought up the noble savage. I just continued the conversation of it. The reason I am saying that Asia is not some mystical other place is because that is what you are purporting. You brought up that Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism have all lived side by side. It's not that simple. It is far more dynamic. I don't care what you have read. It's about what you understand, what you take away from it. On the point of religion, which was the topic, it is impossible for me to have created a straw man, nice try though, because I was responding to something you brought up. The reason you are being Eurocentric specifically is because all of your examples of how China was so progressive in the sphere of religion were cast against how Europe had it so much worse. The Eurocentrism is in the fact that you are basing the very idea of what a religion is on the European understanding of Catholicism. China has had many oppressive points under Confucian philosophy where intellectualism stagnated. Europe under the rule of Catholicism was actually not as oppressive as a lot of history books want to say. The "Dark Ages" weren't as dark as many people think they were today, and Europe sure didn't hold the monopoly on dark times and anti-intellectualism.

tl;dr: It's great that you read some books on East Asia. That doesn't mean you aren't being Eurocentric.
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