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  1. #41
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    No dude, I know I was simplifying and in general I agree with you. I guess the fact you have to keep clarifying what it is you're asking might be a symptom of why my answers are defficient. If you're just asking whether the current system is adequate then of course I'd say hell, no! And as for what you say about 'The West' I couldn't agree more.

    I guess I just wasn't sure what it was you were saying and asking. It seemed for a minute like you were saying Europe was an imaginary thing that didn't really exist culturally or geographically, which obviously I had to contest. If i got you wrong, then I apologize. See, I even put an American 'z' in 'apologize' for you

    I'm a bad person to ask these sortsa questions though cos I really do feel myself sorta 'as one' with all humanity, all races and all peoples. The cultural differences I see as pretty superficial and easily adaptable to, just a veneer over the central humanity that we all share: we all feel the same emotions and have the same needs, we've just all grown up with different ideas of how to meet those.

    Of course Europeans are Eurocentric - most cultures are themselves-centric! lol that's just part of human nature, to consider oneself 'the norm' and work outwards from that. That's Si - the most common primary and auxhilliary function
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  2. #42
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    I notice that a lot of the responses seem to assume "Asia" as a meaningful category. No one's agreed with or contested my assertion that Europe is not a continent geologically-speaking, but is rather an arbitrary cultural division and that the Indian subcontinent has as much separation and interaction with the "Asian" continent as Europe. I was highlighting what seem to me to be major inconsistencies in definition of Europe vs. Asia vs. Indian subcontinent. I would talk about the Arabian peninsula but it's genuinely a part of Asia. Also, no one's talked about "Eurasia" either. But I find some good thinking going on about the diversity of conventional Asians. I would ask that posters specifically address my statements/questions raised in post #'s 6 and 7, or this becomes a rehash of middle school culture textbooks which are problematic to begin with. And no, I'm not looking for agreement but very particular arguments, whether against or for.
    It's true that we now know that Europe and Asia are on the same continental plate, but when the continents were originally divided up, mankind didn't know about that (plate tectonics is a modern theory). So the designation has stuck around. Technically speaking, part of Asia is on the North American plate, but we didn't redraw the continents after that discovery.

    These divisions and categories were created based on the knowledge mankind had accumulated up to that time. It takes generations, perhaps longer, for those antiquated naming conventions to be pushed aside. Perhaps you could start an organization dedicated to changing all of this?
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  3. #43
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    The names Europe and Asia are not modern names but go back an awfully long way, to long before European colonialism. And I don't think they're arbitrary at all. There is a large mountain range or several and some rather inhospitable landscape that effectively divide the Eurasian landmass and which, until modern methods of transportation have made it rather difficult for people to travel between the two 'halves' (more like three-quarters and one-half) of the landmass.
    There's an infinitely more imposing mountain range separating India from Asia: the Himaalayas. Beyond that there's desert. The first major mass movement into India was probably around 2000-1500 BCE. After that Alexander the Great was able to penetrate only as far as the Indus river, after which India is named, and which lies in modern Pakistan. After that, it was only in the 9th century or so, and mainly in the 11th, that waves of the "Mughals", largely from Afghanistan, though they claimed to be from Iran and Turkey as well, came in and invaded/settled in India.

    The supposed Europe-Asia divide has been historically well-traversed all throughout history, starting from the Proto-Indo-European movement from, in all likelihood, somewhere in modern Iran. The region of Anatolia is an easy pathway into 'Europe'. Well before Christ the Persian empire extended into Europe (particularly Greece). Later on, the Huns occupied most of Europe, having originated in Central Asia. After that, Muslim invaders went all the way into Spain. After that, Europeans have a sordid history of invasions into the Fertile Crescent area, often by land as well as by sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I believe the geographical factors are enough to have caused, historically, enough of an impediment to regular contact between Europe and Asia for the land masses to have considered each other as separate, with distinct cultural centres. For example, a medieval Chinaman was well aware that India existed and that people had gone there from his homeland. His own religion was probably heavily influenced by Indian religions. But to a medieval Frenchman India was like some mythical place that came from stories, where three-legged people and dragons lived; he had no idea what Indian people looked like or what their religion was - he might possibly have even assumed they were Christian.
    Just as India shared Buddhism with China and several other cultures in eastern Asia, so did the Fertile Crescent share much of its culture, including Christianity via the Roman Empire, with 'Europe'. As for medieval Europeans, most of them were very aware that India existed. Indeed, the discovery of the Americas was largely precipitated by European desires for spices and silk from the "Indies" and "Cathay". As far back as Megasthenes Europeans were writing about India. Regardless, ignorance of other cultures doesn't justify a naming convention.


    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    While Asia for a long time was looking towards India as a cultural centre, Europe was looking to Rome. And the influence of these centres fanned out and didn't really meet each other until modern transportation started to make it possible to travel across the plains and mountains at speeds that meant you didn't die of starvation before you got there.
    I don't think it's puzzling at all though it's certainly not as simple, in my opinion, as you're making it out to be. As I've outlined above, 'Europe' was interacting with Asia throughout its history, due to invasions and travels both ways. Marco Polo's familiarity and writings about China are one example. Just because superstition and a mockery of scholarship entered into European writings about the so-called "East" doesn't mean they didn't know of its existence. In fact, they often defined themselves in opposition to it.


    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    And apart from the geographical factors, there's also the thing about how Europe and the Middle East have been at war over religion or one thing or another for centuries, so even if you could've gotten across the steppes without dying of starvation, you might've been killed for being the wrong religion.
    It's all a puzzle *shrug*
    Everyone's been at war across The Big Continent. India's culture is a by-product of Muslim invasion and integration. The Spanish language is full to the brim with Arabic words and grammatical conventions. India was a colony of the British Empire for centuries (officially from 1857, though de facto some time after the arrival of The East India Company)... Indian language and culture has been deeply affected by British and European culture. And, accordingly, European culture has been deeply affected by its interactions with civilizations like those of India and China, as can be gleaned from the massive changes in scholarship regarding European classical languages following (European) discovery and appreciation of the historical significance of Sanskrit back in the 1800's.

    __________________________________________________ __________

    I don't think the name "Europe" is a useless one. I think it very much isolates a distinctive set of cultures... but at the same time, it's not a monolithic entity and nor can one gainfully associate Europe with the "West", another fiction, which is guided by rationalism and secularism. The histories of any region in the world is torn by fanaticism and ignorance, as well as good-natured postivism and intelligence.

    What I find particularly vexing is that even today even the academic circles of the world persist in utilizing broad cultural generalizations and geopolitical schemata which simply fail to capture the reality on the ground and instead cater to idealized visions of "East" versus "West", or "Asia" as opposed to "Europe", or "Occident" versus "Orient".

    I mean, how can Europe be said to be so deeply divided from Asia when, particularly via Muslim civilization, massive amounts of knowledge were being transmitted across even the Himalayas? The concept of '0' and the modern numerical system originated in India, were taken by Arabs, and adopted by Europeans. Aristotle was rediscovered by Middle Age scholars in Europe because of Arabic translations and commentaries on Aristotle. The Crusades and trade between and across The Big Continent...

    This is not to say that there aren't major cultural differences... but what I am saying is that the justifications for calling Europe a continent are weak and, ultimately, Eurocentric... Europeans called Europe a continent because they're self-defined Europeans and Europeans have been writing the history books. The major arbiters of international knowledge are Europeans and Americans...

    Perhaps it is only fair that Europeans can define the world accordingly, because they have the power. This is what Foucault was talking about: power relations... though he didn't quite get to the topic we're addressing here.

    My voice is a lone one which asks, however, why we persist in utilizing categories which, even on a cursory analysis, fail to hold up to reasonable scrutiny. At the very least, they are inconsistent... one of the easiest inconsistencies to question is that involved in separating Europe off as a continent, when it's very much Asian geologically-speaking, and not doing the same for the Arabian and Indian subcontinents, particularly the latter, which lies on its own tectonic plate and has just as much of a diverse and long-standing cultural autonomy as Europe ever did.

    __________________________________________________ _

    I am basically asking MBTIc members whether they think the present system is adequate... if not, how could it be changed? If it is, how do they respond to arguments about the history of the naming system and, beyond that, even if the naming system worked yesterday, does it work today and will it work tomorrow? Ought it to change in a more globalized intellectual clime?

    --------------------------------------------------------

    It strikes me as strange that in the U.S.A., where I was born and raised, pretty much... that in assessing demographic statistics, people will refer to Whites, Latinos, Blacks, and Asians. It just seems like a very simplistic and silly way to divy up people. Also, I think it stems from issues like the division of the Big Continent and the trend of what I call the Novo Orientalism, aka Asianism.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  4. #44
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    It's true that we now know that Europe and Asia are on the same continental plate, but when the continents were originally divided up, mankind didn't know about that (plate tectonics is a modern theory). So the designation has stuck around. Technically speaking, part of Asia is on the North American plate, but we didn't redraw the continents after that discovery.

    These divisions and categories were created based on the knowledge mankind had accumulated up to that time. It takes generations, perhaps longer, for those antiquated naming conventions to be pushed aside. Perhaps you could start an organization dedicated to changing all of this?
    You're absolutely right about the continent naming conventions.... but things are different now... so there's the typical inertia against change....

    An interesting proposal... I look at this, however, as only one amongst a variety of symptoms originating in a deeper disease. Deconstruction and postmodernism was supposed to hack away at some of these deeply ingrained systems but instead alienated the public by their abstruseness. The problem with "East meets West" harmony speeches is that they perpetuate the myths of East and West in the first place.

    I plan to use fiction to break down these categories. It's all I would know how to do... being a politician fails because one has to buy into popular categories in order to be elected to represent the popular voice.

    Honestly, though, I think breaking down one misconception or two generally leads to little getting done, because a million more have already sprouted up. One just can't keep up...

    Why even create this thread? Maybe I'm trying to convince myself I'm not full of isht?
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  5. #45
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    hang on, this is weird, it's posted my reply to your reply to my reply, before the thing I was replying to!

    Seriously no, I'm interested in this concept now I've got my head round what you're on about. Don't quit now! lol
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
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  6. #46
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    No dude, I know I was simplifying and in general I agree with you. I guess the fact you have to keep clarifying what it is you're asking might be a symptom of why my answers are defficient. If you're just asking whether the current system is adequate then of course I'd say hell, no! And as for what you say about 'The West' I couldn't agree more.

    I guess I just wasn't sure what it was you were saying and asking. It seemed for a minute like you were saying Europe was an imaginary thing that didn't really exist culturally or geographically, which obviously I had to contest. If i got you wrong, then I apologize. See, I even put an American 'z' in 'apologize' for you

    I'm a bad person to ask these sortsa questions though cos I really do feel myself sorta 'as one' with all humanity, all races and all peoples. The cultural differences I see as pretty superficial and easily adaptable to, just a veneer over the central humanity that we all share: we all feel the same emotions and have the same needs, we've just all grown up with different ideas of how to meet those.

    Of course Europeans are Eurocentric - most cultures are themselves-centric! lol that's just part of human nature, to consider oneself 'the norm' and work outwards from that. That's Si - the most common primary and auxhilliary function
    There is a European culture... surely... just as there's a culture that spans Europe and South-West Asia... and one which spans China and India... and one that spans India and Europe... and Africa and India... and.... these latterly groups just don't have names yet.

    We can divide the world so many ways... to have one system be the official system that one must accept for one's lens, or in order to discuss the world with other people, seems wrong to me.

    I agree totally about the -centrism that is almost a given whenever one talks about culture. I just wish that people wouldn't assume the way we look at the world right now is the right way. I remember having a discussion about this with some girls in college, Indian girls, and one of them was almost trembling with rage because I was insisting that Asia was inadequate to describe Indian culture (they felt excluded from Asia, like it was some slight to their honor).

    <sigh>
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  7. #47
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    hang on, this is weird, it's posted my reply to your reply to my reply, before the thing I was replying to!

    Seriously no, I'm interested in this concept now I've got my head round what you're on about. Don't quit now! lol
    heh heh!

    we'll sort it out...

    It would be interesting to sort through other naming systems and on-going struggles... like the Latin-American dislike of having two continents as opposed to one American super-continent... why does it exist? What is the psychology of wanting there to be only one American super-continent, as opposed to two? Does Arab-Muslim (that's not all Muslims, just Arab Muslims) culture have more in common with European culture or with Indian culture?

    God... it's endless... it's at times like these I wish I'd taken Political Science and not Philosophy.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  8. #48
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    Just as India shared Buddhism with China and several other cultures in eastern Asia, so did the Fertile Crescent share much of its culture, including Christianity via the Roman Empire, with 'Europe'. As for medieval Europeans, most of them were very aware that India existed. Indeed, the discovery of the Americas was largely precipitated by European desires for spices and silk from the "Indies" and "Cathay". As far back as Megasthenes Europeans were writing about India. Regardless, ignorance of other cultures doesn't justify a naming convention.
    What would you say justifies a naming convention?

    This is not to say that there aren't major cultural differences... but what I am saying is that the justifications for calling Europe a continent are weak and, ultimately, Eurocentric... Europeans called Europe a continent because they're self-defined Europeans and Europeans have been writing the history books. The major arbiters of international knowledge are Europeans and Americans...
    I fail to see the problem here. Don't other cultures use different naming conventions?

    Perhaps it is only fair that Europeans can define the world accordingly, because they have the power. This is what Foucault was talking about: power relations... though he didn't quite get to the topic we're addressing here.
    Fair? I don't see how fairness applies to this subject.

    My voice is a lone one which asks, however, why we persist in utilizing categories which, even on a cursory analysis, fail to hold up to reasonable scrutiny. At the very least, they are inconsistent... one of the easiest inconsistencies to question is that involved in separating Europe off as a continent, when it's very much Asian geologically-speaking, and not doing the same for the Arabian and Indian subcontinents, particularly the latter, which lies on its own tectonic plate and has just as much of a diverse and long-standing cultural autonomy as Europe ever did.
    Like I said, start an organization dedicated to 'fixing' this issue, if it's that important to you.

    I am basically asking MBTIc members whether they think the present system is adequate... if not, how could it be changed? If it is, how do they respond to arguments about the history of the naming system and, beyond that, even if the naming system worked yesterday, does it work today and will it work tomorrow? Ought it to change in a more globalized intellectual clime?
    As long as the system allows for the exchange of information, it's adequate. I believe the current system is adequate, though, perhaps it's not the most efficient.

    It strikes me as strange that in the U.S.A., where I was born and raised, pretty much... that in assessing demographic statistics, people will refer to Whites, Latinos, Blacks, and Asians. It just seems like a very simplistic and silly way to divy up people. Also, I think it stems from issues like the division of the Big Continent and the trend of what I call the Novo Orientalism, aka Asianism.
    As far as demographic statistics in the US are concerned, blame left-wingers for that one. They want to have everyone categorized so they can keep track 'fairness'.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #49
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    What would you say justifies a naming convention?
    I don't know for sure... maybe the most amount of specificity with the least amount of inaccuracy. But deciding which naming convention is best is less like using a solid algorithm and getting the right answer than it is like using hit-or-miss techniques until everyone agrees we can't get better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I fail to see the problem here. Don't other cultures use different naming conventions?
    Sure... but intercultural dialogue is hampered by major assumptions which are embedded in the naming conventions I'm criticizing... for instance, the assumption of a lone Europe, or a Western civilization bringing friendly nations under its wing whilst holding at bay the rabid and passionately anti-progress East, as represented by everyone's favorite bad boy, Muslim terrorism. Samuel Huntington-crap clash of the civilizations, when socio-economic considerations would be far more helpful. Or East and West... that's the worst one... and I think Asianism is part of the problem... these attitudes in turn affect foreign policy and have a great impact on actual politics. The United Nations and political-speak from most countries and institutions vying for international recognition are dominated by the political and historical worldview generated largely in Euro-American universities and government organizations. It's a rigged game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Fair? I don't see how fairness applies to this subject.
    One group dictating how all other groups should see the world based on hopelessly faulty logic. Forget about fair, it just doesn't make sense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Like I said, start an organization dedicated to 'fixing' this issue, if it's that important to you.
    I'll handle my goals my own way. I'm not into organizations, per se, because organizations are by nature institutions, and institutions tend to institutionalize. I prefer the path of getting out a message without the strictures of membership in a club, though group-ishness tends to creep into everything. Just putting this out here on MBTIc may not change people's minds... but at least it gets one, or two, people thinking about the issues... if they can see the arguments and reject them, at least they've thought about it. That's a small win in my book, even if things do remain the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    As long as the system allows for the exchange of information, it's adequate. I believe the current system is adequate, though, perhaps it's not the most efficient.
    I think the naming system is woefully inadequate. The system of information sharing through publishing houses and universities in different countries? Not so bad... but some would say it's too filtered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    As far as demographic statistics in the US are concerned, blame left-wingers for that one. They want to have everyone categorized so they can keep track 'fairness'.
    Republicans pander too. Also, I blame historical attitudes propagated by all sorts of people, both right and left-wingers, and the inertia of the current political and educational machinery. There are also lots of historical contingencies and it's not fair to just go and point fingers at people. I may seem to be doing this, but really, I do feel like a lot of this just flies out of people's control. Rudyard Kipling is a great example of a conflicted individual torn by two allegiances of sorts.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  10. #50
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Just coming at the questions off the cuff I'd say that Arab-Muslim/European shares in common that they've both grown revolving around a monotheistic religion, as opposed to Indian which hasn't, or whose religion is more diverse and complex. As far as I can gather anyway. Not that Islam and Christianity themselves aren't diverse and complex, I just don't think they diverge within themselves quite as much as Hinduism, Buddhism etc.

    But I can see what you're doing here, it's Ne doing the opposite of the 'centric Si: stepping further and further back all the time seeing a bigger and bigger picture and not being able to understand why everyone else is still so focused on the trees now you've noticed the entire wood. Or something...?
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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