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  1. #51
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    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...?
    re: Indian religious thought: it's had independent schools of thought, spanning 'Hinduism', Buddhism, and other systems, which include early polytheism and henotheism, long-standing pantheism, monotheism and monism, very early and more developed atheism, and several other blends.

    Yes... my Ne is very impulsive and I often fly off into places I don't have the detail-orientation to handle... this is why I find myself putting off "that book which says everything I want to say" more and more interminably. Don't get me started on "East" and "West". As a good example of a product of both of these fictional cultures, I find myself deconstructing those poles quite often.

    : )
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

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

  2. #52
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    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...?
    Soon I'll step back into emptiness and either (exclusive) 1) achieve enlightenment or, more probably, 2) go mad.

    An image which has haunted me for several years is that of a madman babbling endlessly on a mountaintop. More than a few people would agree that I am that madman.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

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

  3. #53
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    It could just be a case of 'obvious next move'... I mean, it could be that when the Arabs looked for places to conquer and Islamize, due to what was east of them, west seemed an obvious direction to go in and, once they reached the western coast of Africa, it seemed obvious to go north into Spain, and again north into Turkey and Eastern Europe. Logistical accidents almost, really, resulting in much closer, more intense contact between the cultures.

    Likewise it could simply be that Europeans went the way they did because there just wasn't much to be gained by going into Russia and Central Asia at the time they were looking to expand. Richer pickings elsewhere - back in the Crusades period I mean, cos of course obviously much later, there were many incursions into Africa and Asia.

    You only have to look at my local cathedral to see the heavy influence of Islamic geometry and architecture on European culture. I think though, that direct influence on European 'everyman' culture (as opposed to a select few) from Central Asia was pretty rare until industrial times. I don't deny there was influence but I think mostly indirectly, coming through the Islamic world. "Arabic numbers" being a case in point, which obviously actually came from India through Arabs into Europe.

    Also there's the fact that Indian religious thought seems to go back a hell of a lot further than Christianity or Islam can claim, in both written and non-written form. It's had longer to complexify (if that wasn't word, it is one now!!). I spent a couple of weeks in India a few years ago when I used to be a Muslim, as a guest of a friend and I have to say the overwhelming feeling and impression I had of touring around the place was a sense of awe at the sheer 'ancientness' of everything. I found it extremely humbling, cos Europeans have this arrogant sense of being "older and wiser" than our diaper-wearing trans-Atlantic cousin countries, but being in India made me realize that, while this amazing civilization was doing all kinds of amazing shit, my race was little more than a bunch of cavemen hitting each other with bones lol It really put me in my place, I can tell you.

    As I say, I'm a linguist by trade as it were, and I've been constantly amused by the similarities between Hindi and French/English/Latin, whilst Urdu remains less similar because of the Arabic (non-Indo-European) injections. There's no doubt in my mind that we're the same people, dude. And yet not. Wonderfully bizarre
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
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  4. #54
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    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.

    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.
    You're extrapolating quite a bit here, and I'm not really following you. I thought we were talking about the use of the word 'Asian' by the general public. Now you're talking about how that affects politics. I don't think this is anywhere close to the same discussion anymore.
    "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."

  5. #55
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    SDM, do you think Indian culture is being mined by Europeans and Americans? It seems pretty trendy these days (and for the past 10 yrs or so). I see a lot of this--heck, I participate in some of it-- and I'm not sure if it's exploitive or not. Examples: people who have no connection to India who buy a Ganesh for their mantle because it's a cool looking elephant dude. Indian music and film is gathering steam in indy circles but it's all lumped into a generic category, "Indian," with no awareness of the specific origin. And the women in my peer group are always henna-ing each other's pregnant bellies.

    It all seems like it could be totally innocent and harmless transmitting of a meme without its underlying meaning. Like Halloween, I hardly think qualifies as kids celebrating Samhain. But on the other hand it could be considered disrespectful, exploitive, or a perpetuation of a single Indian identity that may not exist in reality.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  6. #56
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Ivy, if you ever watched a Bollywood movie, you'll have seen just as much meaningless apeing of 'Western' culture without any understanding of the complex cultural things on which those things they ape actually hinge.

    It's kinda normal I think, when cultures encounter each other, that some peope will do the 'hey wow, groovy' thing and stuff. Whilst it's not exactly ideal or quite as good as proper understanding and exploration, you could argue that it's better than hostile refusal to engage with the new/foreign culture at all, or hatred of it.

    I mean it used to annoy me back in my Muslim days when I'd go in a mosque and some Indian guy would invite me to his place, where he'd give me dinner and tell me what I have to behave like, based on what he thinks is 'traditional British manners', IOW his rather shalllow Indian interpretation of what he understands as that, or he'd be "correcting" my English usages... all of which he was kinda saying outranked my authentic Europeanness. But in time it stopped bothering me cos I realized it was harmless and well meant, and like I say, I've unconsciously done the same thing in reverse and it's better than stubborn 'us and them' thinking.

    It was a very interesting experience for me, to be the ethnic minority.
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
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  7. #57
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    You're extrapolating quite a bit here, and I'm not really following you. I thought we were talking about the use of the word 'Asian' by the general public. Now you're talking about how that affects politics. I don't think this is anywhere close to the same discussion anymore.
    I think it's very much the same discussion. It's all related... the politics of knowledge is a web which spreads across the speech of both regular folk and the elite institutions of the world... each reinforcing the other.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

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

  8. #58
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    SDM, do you think Indian culture is being mined by Europeans and Americans?............

    It all seems like it could be totally innocent and harmless transmitting of a meme without its underlying meaning. Like Halloween, I hardly think qualifies as kids celebrating Samhain. But on the other hand it could be considered disrespectful, exploitive, or a perpetuation of a single Indian identity that may not exist in reality.
    I don't want to get into it... or I'll rant for ten pages... but the idea that all Indians are Hindi-speaking Punjabis is consistently reinforced from both within Indian borders by Bollywood and the central government as well as from without. Misconceptions about Hinduism and Indian Islam abound as well... Yoga is only one of the most ridiculous examples, though I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, since people benefit from a culture as they see fit... but the same thing happened with Karate and Kung-Fu, Buddhism and "Zen"... apparently, anything with any depth is now "Zen".... whatever...

    Dude... look at what happened to Christmas... now is it bad? Does it matter? Reverent Christians will still go to midnight Mass, regardless of what others do... I don't know...

    I'm not solely going to freak on India, though it doesn't hurt that my roots are partly there... it's just an example I know well.... there're tons of misconceptions about Africa, for instance, "African identity", which is something many 'Africans' resent and others try to promote, for both 'good' and 'bad' reasons... "kwanzaa"... something that deserves a thread all its own.

    What I'm more interested in than with the "Asia" or "East-West" categories is why people so blindly buy into ready-made categories which clearly don't fit and how these categories make real differences in foreign policy, in day-to-day behavior between 'cultural' groups, whether different approaches to slicing up the people of the world might lessen major misunderstandings and marginalization.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

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

  9. #59
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I mean it used to annoy me back in my Muslim days when I'd go in a mosque and some Indian guy would invite me to his place, where he'd give me dinner and tell me what I have to behave like, based on what he thinks is 'traditional British manners', IOW his rather shalllow Indian interpretation of what he understands as that, or he'd be "correcting" my English usages... all of which he was kinda saying outranked my authentic Europeanness. But in time it stopped bothering me cos I realized it was harmless and well meant, and like I say, I've unconsciously done the same thing in reverse and it's better than stubborn 'us and them' thinking.

    It was a very interesting experience for me, to be the ethnic minority.
    Whenever I come to India people constantly ask me if I have anything to do with ISKCON, because I'm American and have long hair. I feel like screaming at those points. (And no, I have nothing to do with the "Hare Krishna" sect).

    I believe I ranted about Bollywood films in some other thread a while ago...

    Bollywood: Vaudevillian fantasy-perpetuation in Hindi/Urdu.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

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

  10. #60
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    What I'm more interested in than with the "Asia" or "East-West" categories is why people so blindly buy into ready-made categories which clearly don't fit and how these categories make real differences in foreign policy, in day-to-day behavior between 'cultural' groups, whether different approaches to slicing up the people of the world might lessen major misunderstandings and marginalization.
    So all of this to ask why people stereotype?
    "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."

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