Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Culture and Philosophy

Why waste time on talking about movies, TV-shows, books or some philosophical theory, when in the real world real wars are killing and maiming people, destroying their homes and lands?
Should it not be enough to just document the suffering and the crimes to get the peoples of the world to oppose them and stop them?
Obviously not.
Wars, massacres, oppression, torture and other atrocities are justified or downplayed.
We never see the world plain and obectively. We allways see it coloured through the glasses of our own worldview. While my individual worldview might differ from the views of my immidiate neighbours, it still is influenced by the collective worldview of my country and the culture I live in.
A worldview is created by culture and mirrored in it and it bases on a collective philosophy wich changes through the years.
Our western culture has become more cynical and less humanist in the last twenty years and has still not overcome racism. Instead, racism has changed its focus from skin-colour to culture.
Of course in our western self-righeousness we declare that this is not real racism, since, while people cannot change the colour of their skin, they could change their culture and religion or at least the attitude towards religion easily and become like us, the prototypes of the wonderful modern man, the over-humans instead of the barbarians they are now. And if those barbarians do not want to become like us, those barbarians just get what´s coming to them.
When westerners accuse Muslim societies of oppressing women and the Muslims accuse western societies of abusing women´s sexuality for profit, then most westerners wouldn´t even consider of looking at the accusations. They would not even consider, that the suffering caused by turning sexuality into a merchandize to be sold, bought and used for the advertisment of other products together with the economic devastation of neo-liberal politcs, might cause as widespread physical and psychological suffering among women as the legal discrimination of women in Muslim societies.
All this western self-righteousness is based on modern western philosophies, which define freedom in a whole different way than non-western people do or we ouselve have defined some twenty years ago.
We need to realize that our own culture is far from perfect or even on the way to perfection, it is not even a whole lot better than the cultures we critizice.
And I believe that we need to question our collective worldview including all the assumption we perceive as undeniable truths, which in reality are just theories.
Those theories stand in comptition to a other contrdicting theories which have just as much sceintific evidence behind them as the ones generally accepted by most of us.
When we analyze our culture mirrored in movies, music, tv-shows and books, we can recognize what the philosphies and assumed "truths" our culture is built on, and what philosophies are propagated by the powerful in order to move our culture into their direction.