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East and West

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    Posted: 22 Nov 2011 at 14:53
Im not sure if this fits under military history, but this topics pretty generalized. In history it seems alot of the time countries are catagorized into the east and the West. The West is usually seen as America, Europe, Japan, Australia, ect. while the east is usually caracterized by China, India and the middle east. I know i missed some and Russia kinda falls in between.
During the time of the greeks and Romans the west was somewhat in the lead after the collapse of Persia and Carthrage. But after the fall of Rome, China, the mongols and Islam all excelled. Then the west and Europe regained dominance, soon including America.
Do you guys think the power changes between these two? Where are we now? Just throwing around some thoughts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2011 at 22:44
I think that's just a reflection of the simplistic interpretation of history in "The West", primarily for the use of hollywood and the consumption of its audience . A lot of events and dynasties occured in parallel across the world.  (Btw, that is the first time I have seen Japan classed as Western).  I actually like the Russian and Arab/Islamic view of history because it is quite broad and honest without so much glorification of certain events and topics as is a common fault in the West which ultimately results in perceptions like the one you described.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2011 at 12:16
Russia is an Indoeuropean nation with mostly caucasian people, and a part of the Western Civilization. Even more, it has a claim to ancestry a lot clear than a superpower like the U.S., given its culture descend from Greece throught the Bizantine Empire! On the other hand, the U.S. is a creature whose creator was Britain, a former barbarian land.

Japan maybe part of the "western alliance", but that country is not western at all. Not in race, language or basic culture. Wich is nothing wrong, at all, but the point is Japan's cultural and racial roots are in East Asia and China.




Edited by pinguin - 23 Nov 2011 at 12:20
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2011 at 17:52
The classification of East and West is a product of the modern age. Before then it didn't really exist.

Back in the Roman Empire, East generally referred to the Greek-speaking provinces while West referred to the Latin-speaking provinces. Back then the Iberian Peninsula and Italy and far more cultural affinities with what is now Algeria and Morrocco than with Germany or Scandinavia.

During the Middle Ages, there was a strong division and rivalry between Christian and Muslim nations, although it wasn't East and West, as Morroco and the Caliphate of Cordoba were situated very West, and the Byzantine Empire, although Christian, evolved culturally and politically very independently to the European nations, who generally referred to them as "orientals".

After the French Revolution, the "west" gradually began to refer to countries with some degree of democratic practices, in contrast with the "East", who lived under authoritarian imperial regimes such as the Russian, Ottoman, and Chinese Empires.

During the Cold War era of the 20th century, the West referred to free-market nations, while the east referred to the communist block...

Today, with globalization, the division between East and West is becoming very blurred.
The greatest divisions among the world today are between the rich countries and poor countries, which could be located on either side of the hemisphere.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2011 at 23:01
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Russia is an Indoeuropean nation with mostly caucasian people, and a part of the Western Civilization.
 
Russia is not classed as Western in the west, neither does it class itself as Western.
 
Besides, that is not what defines Western.  Finland doesn't have an indo-european population but is still Western.  Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan have  majority indo-european, caucasian populations too - yet are not western.
 
Quote Even more, it has a claim to ancestry a lot clear than a superpower like the U.S., given its culture descend from Greece throught the Bizantine Empire! On the other hand, the U.S. is a creature whose creator was Britain, a former barbarian land.
Japan maybe part of the "western alliance", but that country is not western at all. Not in race, language or basic culture. Wich is nothing wrong, at all, but the point is Japan's cultural and racial roots are in East Asia and China.
 
Western has nothing to do with race or ancestry, it is to do with culture unless of course you are using the classifications of KKK and the like in which case you are a moron.


Edited by Zagros - 23 Nov 2011 at 23:02
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2011 at 01:46
Since this thread is moving in the direction of stating the obvious, the one thing that has to be kept in mind is that East and West are geographic determinants meaningless within the context of History. Political Scientists of the mid-20th century certainly abused the term as shorthand in their blather over "conflict". Of course, there are some who might decide to blame Diocletian for giving the terminology a "political" life but beyond these parameters the usage becomes so amorphous as to be meaningless, specially within a contemporary context.
 
Admittedly, I was somewhat amused by the claim that the rather distinctive cultural ambiance of Russia "descends" from Greece--an assertion that is absurd on its face--but, hey, such nonsense is hardly better than Britain as a "former barbarian land". Those ubiquitous "barbarians" were just as active on the Volga as they were on the Thames. If one is hell bent in shaping "worlds" then the first priority is defining cogent and cohesive terms. In terms of historical analysis "East and West" just does not cut it! It is amorphous enough to be meaningless in terms of intellectual considerations as any observation of a Chinese parade bearing images of Karl Marx underscores.


Edited by drgonzaga - 24 Nov 2011 at 01:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2011 at 10:34
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:


Admittedly, I was somewhat amused by the claim that the rather distinctive cultural ambiance of Russia "descends" from Greece--an assertion that is absurd on its face--but, hey, such nonsense is hardly better than Britain as a "former barbarian land". Those ubiquitous "barbarians" were just as active on the Volga as they were on the Thames.


Sure. If one must be strict, the only people outside Europe that descend directly from Romans are Latin Americans. Italian, Spanish, Portuguese are all dialects of Latin, unlike english and russian, who are barbarian tongues. Wink

Russians and Brits are just barbarians who are western wannabies... Third Rome? Ha. The American Empire with roman architecture? Ha.

Anyways. The Western Civilisation should be a term only applied to Southern Europe, that was the place were there are Greece, Rome, and the favorite province, Iberia.


Edited by pinguin - 24 Nov 2011 at 10:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2011 at 10:36
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Western has nothing to do with race or ancestry, it is to do with culture unless of course you are using the classifications of KKK and the like in which case you are a moron.


Western is the European. The rest are refugees.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2011 at 23:45
Since the earth is spherical what is geographically most "west" and "east" is strictly speaking an arbitrary choice, and China, U.S. and Europe as much "west" as "east". What we mean by such terms depends on context.
And what is this about "people descending from romans"? Some languages comes from latin, but that is not the same. Spaniard, Portuguese and South americans could be as genetically related to arabs or northafricans - or "germanic invaders" as to romans.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 00:50
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Western has nothing to do with race or ancestry, it is to do with culture unless of course you are using the classifications of KKK and the like in which case you are a moron.


Western is the European. The rest are refugees.


Oh so now you change your tune from the moronic requisite of indo-european and caucasian for Western to European.  Yes, but European what?  Yes, Western European culture, of course.  Like I said at the beginning.

And if you want to talk about European peoples, well, they all migrated there and did not have this "Western culture" until Rome and Christianity brought it to them.  Before Islam much of the Middle East had a Greco-Roman and Christian "Western" culture.  So again your moronic racial designation fails you.

"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 00:51
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Since the earth is spherical what is geographically most "west" and "east" is strictly speaking an arbitrary choice, and China, U.S. and Europe as much "west" as "east". What we mean by such terms depends on context.
And what is this about "people descending from romans"? Some languages comes from latin, but that is not the same. Spaniard, Portuguese and South americans could be as genetically related to arabs or northafricans - or "germanic invaders" as to romans.


Everything except real science is arbitrary and perceptory and that of course is what we're discussing, the logic behind this.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 01:19
Real Science is as "arbitrary" in its operation as anything else when you understand the underlying principles of Quantum Mechanics and particle Physics. Let's get real and understand that we are approaching methodology and the definition of cogent terminology. Keep in mind that the more precise the position the less precise the momentum (pace Heisenberg).
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 03:31
Do you understand the underlying principles of quantum mechanics and particle physics? I am talking about observable science in the real world; the observation, understanding and explanation of cause and effect in natural processes.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 05:00
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Since the earth is spherical what is geographically most "west" and "east" is strictly speaking an arbitrary choice, and China, U.S. and Europe as much "west" as "east". What we mean by such terms depends on context.
And what is this about "people descending from romans"? Some languages comes from latin, but that is not the same. Spaniard, Portuguese and South americans could be as genetically related to arabs or northafricans - or "germanic invaders" as to romans.


Everything except real science is arbitrary and perceptory and that of course is what we're discussing, the logic behind this.
One problem with the "west" is it seems it has so many different but often overlapping meanings.
Here I think it is "Western Civilisation", but the limits of this "Civilisation" in space and time seems not at all that clear, but at least it is not the same as some other uses, like "the american west" or "the western powers", and it seems a bit ridiculous to me to speak of "Plato" and "NATO" as both "western" in the same sense. Perhaps some other term would be preferable if we had a choice to start from scratch, like "The Civilisation that originated as European and Atlantic" - a rather long and clumsy way to say it I admit - and then there is also those parts not directly at the atlantic shores like most of Germany and the Alpine region and Italy. But coastal areas and seas (and islands and peninsulas) I think were from the beginning very essential in European/Western History, both in peace and war.

Edited by fantasus - 25 Nov 2011 at 05:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 08:33
Well you just have to apply some chronological and contextual sense.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 09:06
Here is a criteria upon which to muse.  Until the 17th century on can assess the centrality of experience within a Braudelian perspective: The Mediterranean World. That was the axis upon which "Western" civilization revolved [and had done so for some thousands of years]. Evil Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 12:33
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


And if you want to talk about European peoples, well, they all migrated there and did not have this "Western culture" until Rome and Christianity brought it to them. 


Well, all humans descend from the monkey, you mean.

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


Before Islam much of the Middle East had a Greco-Roman and Christian "Western" culture.  So again your moronic racial designation fails you.


Certainly.  But we are talking about Western Civilization, and Islam is not considered part of Western Civilization, no matter they share the same roots.

And by the way, there is nothing moronic about race. After all, a German Sheppard doesn't look or behave the same as a Husky, no matter all that PC propaganda that said a dog is a dog, and that all dogs have been created equal Confused

Dogs aren't equal, no matter all dogs stop the tree from falling, when making pee.... Next time we'll take about milk cows.



Edited by pinguin - 25 Nov 2011 at 12:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RollingWave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 17:29

Carthage was more west (in a geographic sense) than Rome ;)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 17:51
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Certainly.  But we are talking about Western Civilization, and Islam is not considered part of Western Civilization, no matter they share the same roots.

And by the way, there is nothing moronic about race. After all, a German Sheppard doesn't look or behave the same as a Husky, no matter all that PC propaganda that said a dog is a dog, and that all dogs have been created equal Confused

Dogs aren't equal, no matter all dogs stop the tree from falling, when making pee.... Next time we'll take about milk cows.


Dogs (taken as a whole) have a larger genetic variation than todays humans. We actually are one of the mammals that have least genetic variation, even if we are really many. It is because our species went through some serious bottlenecks a couple of times in the past. So the small variations you can see in humans can hardly be called races.

Edited by Carcharodon - 25 Nov 2011 at 17:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 18:26
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Here is a criteria upon which to muse.  Until the 17th century on can assess the centrality of experience within a Braudelian perspective: The Mediterranean World. That was the axis upon which "Western" civilization revolved [and had done so for some thousands of years]. Evil Smile
We can take that perspective, and there may even be something to gain from it.
On the other hand, if we define the "axis" that way we get a very different "west" from modern and contemporary "Western Europe", since the common territories for both seems to be only Italy, Spain, and parts of southern France, plus perhaps the coasts of the adriatic Sea.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 19:50
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


And if you want to talk about European peoples, well, they all migrated there and did not have this "Western culture" until Rome and Christianity brought it to them. 


Well, all humans descend from the monkey, you mean.

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


Before Islam much of the Middle East had a Greco-Roman and Christian "Western" culture.  So again your moronic racial designation fails you.


Certainly.  But we are talking about Western Civilization, and Islam is not considered part of Western Civilization, no matter they share the same roots.

And by the way, there is nothing moronic about race. After all, a German Sheppard doesn't look or behave the same as a Husky, no matter all that PC propaganda that said a dog is a dog, and that all dogs have been created equal Confused

Dogs aren't equal, no matter all dogs stop the tree from falling, when making pee.... Next time we'll take about milk cows.

 
Either your English isn't up to scratch or you have some sort of cognitive deficiency because nothing you just said is a counter argument to my post.  Certainly not all dogs are equal.
 
What you are describing is European Christendom, which is the source but not the exclusive proprietor of Westernism.  Non-Western countries can Westernise afterall.


Edited by Zagros - 25 Nov 2011 at 19:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 19:50
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Well you just have to apply some chronological and contextual sense.

From the start the topic was if it makes any sense to see historical epochs were the "west" had the lead as opposed to other times were it was the "east".
Then the chronological context must be broad, so I think we should say the historical era - that is the last about 2500 or 2800 years, as the period under investigation( though others may prefer another division). Then I prefer to see it not as "west" and "east" but rather "west" and "rest", since the peoples and lands east of Bosporus seems to have had little specific in common, and we should include at least parts of Africa in the "rest".
If we see the "European peninsula" - plus nearest islands as the  core of "west" through the ages we have a territorial context. A region with a very long "irregular" coastline, lots of nearby islands and peninsulas (and peninsulas on penisulas), strats, isthmusses - it almost seems a bit similar to a "selfrepeating pattern" ("fractal figure"). For the peoples living their - and therefore for the history of them - the implication was if they should go anywhere else, the far best way was by the seas. Almost all history of "european expansion" beyond that territory had to be by boat or ship, and the initial area from were europeans "expanded" a coastal one. The earliest such areas were the "greek" (and macedonian) lands, and shortly thereafter Italy - and the surrounding islands of the two. Both of those have a priviledged geographical location if we look at the Medditerranean as "their" region - a location exceptionally fit for dominating those waters. It makes very good sense that the epoch of Greek and Roman glory was the early one, were short-distance navigation was well known, but less so for the longer and oceanic voyages. In the same way the Atlantic parts of Europe were exceptionally fit as "initial point of departure" for oceanic expansion.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 19:55
No chronological context as in the context of the use of the term.  For example, when we say West in a current affairs context then quite clearly we are referring to the EU, the US and their cultural offshoots.  In a Medieval sense it refers to Western European Christendom; in a classical context it refers to Greece.  So taken in context it is quite clear what the West refers to.  East is actually much more ambiguous because it can refer to Eastern Christendom (Russia etc) or any Asian country or bloc in the modern sense.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 20:22
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

No chronological context as in the context of the use of the term.
I  do not understand?
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

For example, when we say West in a current affairs context then quite clearly we are referring to the EU, the US and their cultural offshoots.

As an approximation, though I think the EU has not that much of "cultural offshots" - for the last most of a century US has "dominated", also culture, for better or worse.
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

In a Medieval sense it refers to Western European Christendom;
A very different (from todays "west") and heterogenous "entity".
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

in a classical context it refers to Greece.
Ancient Greece was that different from the later west, both regarding people, culture, territory and religion that it could be seen as something of its own.
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


 So taken in context it is quite clear what the West refers to.  East is actually much more ambiguous because it can refer to Eastern Christendom (Russia etc) or any Asian country or bloc in the modern sense.
I agree "East" is even more ambiguous, or should we say it has very little common except not being part of "west".
If we accept Your definition of the "west" in context(or rather the different "wests", then  we can hardly do what was asked for:to find out what was tre eras of "western leadership" and what was not, since we operate with entirely different meanings of "west" relative to different periods of history.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 20:30

That is why you need to use common sense (chronological context).  For example when we say West when speaking in context of classical history, we are quite clearly not talking about the US.  Common sense



Edited by Zagros - 25 Nov 2011 at 20:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 22:17
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

That is why you need to use common sense (chronological context).  For example when we say West when speaking in context of classical history, we are quite clearly not talking about the US.  Common sense

I think we should not go as far as to reject the possibillity of a perspective of continuity. there may be good "Histories of the West" throughout the ages, but if the chronology is broad, then I prefer some alternative definition, that could be geographical.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 23:03
Within a contemporary milieu the employment of the term "West" is an atavism and, frankly, not only anachronistic but entirely governed by the caution set by the paraphyletic. We will not dwell upon the vulgar implications of the "us and them" complex. Within a historiographical perspective respecting the desiderata of particular periods even the concept of "western civilization" is dubious and more a reflection of the 19th century mind-set than any conceptualization held by those that "lived" other times. The term is integrally related to the primal fallacies of European Idealism as construed by Romanticism and essentially its usage is at best a quaintness and at worse a barbarism!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 23:17
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Within a contemporary milieu the employment of the term "West" is an atavism and, frankly, not only anachronistic but entirely governed by the caution set by the paraphyletic. We will not dwell upon the vulgar implications of the "us and them" complex. Within a historiographical perspective respecting the desiderata of particular periods even the concept of "western civilization" is dubious and more a reflection of the 19th century mind-set than any conceptualization held by those that "lived" other times. The term is integrally related to the primal fallacies of European Idealism as construed by Romanticism and essentially its usage is at best a quaintness and at worse a barbarism!

Is the idea of a "19th century mind-set" any more clear than an idea of "the West"? at least You have to use an idea of what is "European" or else it would be impossible to discuss any "fallacies of European Idealism". And how do we avoid ideas about "us and them" if we discuss "barbarism"?
If there are "barbarians" (those "we" do not understand?) there must be some others - us - the "civilised" or the "Greeks"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 23:27
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Within a contemporary milieu the employment of the term "West" is an atavism and, frankly, not only anachronistic but entirely governed by the caution set by the paraphyletic. We will not dwell upon the vulgar implications of the "us and them" complex. Within a historiographical perspective respecting the desiderata of particular periods even the concept of "western civilization" is dubious and more a reflection of the 19th century mind-set than any conceptualization held by those that "lived" other times. The term is integrally related to the primal fallacies of European Idealism as construed by Romanticism and essentially its usage is at best a quaintness and at worse a barbarism!
 
Well that is my personal take on it when looking at the bigger picture.  But the fact is that we have not gotten away from popular use of this anachronism in historical narrative nor political.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2011 at 00:05
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

 
Well that is my personal take on it when looking at the bigger picture.  But the fact is that we have not gotten away from popular use of this anachronism in historical narrative nor political.
We may need a better word for "it" and better usage, but untill then we have "european" or "western".
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