Perception flows from interior to exterior regions of the brain, from evolutionarily oldest to newest.
An unidentifiable perception flows first through the startle reaction of fear and flight, then the emotive, superstitious and paranormal explanation before finally, when enough data has been collected, to fit to our rational understanding of nature.
Tolling through the AsiaTimesOnLine archives I came across a highly provocative item by Henry C. K. Liu, a writer the Meme Merchants have followed for a number of years. What came up today was the first installment of a series he wrote back in July 2003: The Abduction of Modernity, The Race towards Barbarism. I say provocative in two senses: being thought-provoking in Lui’s inimitable way, and also provoking some very strong disagreement.
Before I was halfway through the article I found myself doing a kind of point by point rebuttal, the genesis of this piece, which I had to eventually push mentally aside in order to finish the article. The article was so thought-provoking that I feel I have to give myself a kind of ‘intellectual time out’, before I proceed with a more serious analysis or criticism of the article. Mr. Liu is a very smart and thoughtful writer, one has to at least try to meet him at his own level.
This morning in way of introducing the topic I will anticipate that much of the further discussion on the subject will revolve around two rather different world views, one the so-called ‘modern’ Western world view and the other the traditional Eastern Confucian world view. To be fair to Mr. Liu, the point of at least the first article of this series is precisely the nature of that ‘modernity’ and its relationship to Western civilization.
A strong dichotomy it appears.
Of the many possible dichotomies of civilizations you can draw, one is the dichotomy of a civilization that sees what is noble and valuable in the individual as what is in conformance with the cultural model, and another civilization who’s culture sees what is rare and valuable in the individual as everything that is different from the cultural model.
One of those world views, I propose, is ‘modern’, the other is not.
FWIW, I think California is a great example of how the myth of “closer ties” is broken. We’re about as “tied” to the USA as you can get and fully economically and financially integrated. We’ve just had a 3rd city declare bankruptcy and several counties along with the State proper are headed toward it. We are the “Greece of the USA” and everyone knows it. So if ‘closer integration’ was going to fix things: How come California is so messed up financially?
My reply became long winded enough, and covered enough new theoretical ground that I’ve decided to promote it to a new post.
I’ve been on an extended holiday from blogging, but since I still seem to have something to say I’ll say just say it now.
E.M. Smith aka Chiefio, – I have to get used to this, E.M seems to have ditched his pseudonym and is now going by his initials in public – has a new post up Same Solution, Same Problem, no fix which is a musing on the classic Audrey Hepburn movie Roman Holiday, the light hearted fairtale of a truant princess who skips out on her royal responsibilities for a day for before returning to the more serious duties as a figurehead of state. Solutions proposed by fictitious princesses in 1953 don’t seem to be much different than what is proposed by fairy tale politicians today according to E.M.
From the screenplay [bold by The Chiefio]
AMERICAN CORRESPONDENT [speaking from the crowd] Does Your Highness believe that Federation would be a possible solution to Europe’s economic problems?
ANN. I am in favour of any measure which would lead to closer cooperation in Europe.
E.M had this to say:
Looks like the particular fantasy that “closer cooperation” or integration or “Federation” will solve economic ills has been around since at least 1953. You’d think after 1/2 Century they would have figured out it doesn’t do that. (Heck, you’d also think they would have figured out how to avoid financial problems…)
So is it time we started talking about Angela Merkel being on a Roman Holiday?
Fulfilling my role as prophet for the group I had this to say:
The tendency towards, “… any measure which would lead to closer cooperation in Europe,” is a faulty response to the general evolutionary pressure towards the globalization and unification of human culture and civilization.