Monday, February 1, 2010

On Wholesale Westernization

A paper on Chinese Philosophy
February 28, 2007


Adopting the western model to achieve modernization has been becoming a trend. For them to be able to reach modernization, some countries attest that they have to adopt that given model simply because it worked on those countries. But then, must we be hasty in doing major actions as such?

The path to modernization involves changes in industry as well as in philosophy. Current trend as of now is characterized by industrial boom and rapid development in technology. These forms of progress take with them the changing of mindsets of the society that adopts them. Some are becoming inclined to rationalization, while leaving behind their age-old dogmatic way of thinking. As I have said, westernization as a means to achieve modernization is the way certain nations adopt. This action may work, but not at all times. We have seen its positive effects on Western nations such as Great Britain, US and Germany; we are fully convinced that it worked for them. But if we are to consider Oriental countries, we are having double thoughts. Modernization inclined with westernization is somehow strange to the orients. These people have philosophical and cultural background which are totally different from them. So, upon merging of ideas, cultures and values, conflicts and certain torturous results are never prevented. Upon sudden shifting from the age-old ‘tried and tested’ paradigm they used to embrace to totally strange yet seemingly ‘trendy’ one, they are losing their identity as a nation and are somehow becoming out of track. They do not need to totally adhere to this given model to achieve modernization for it is not the sole model that is adoptable. It may serve as a springboard but it may not work at all times.

I agree with Liu Fangtong when he said that Eastern countries must choose their own route suitable to them. They must not go with the flow otherwise tormenting crises arising from contradictions and cultural conflicts would emerge. I am not saying that they should close their doors with from the influences the west might bring upon them. In fact, westernization per se has some elements that are universally applicable. But what is happening today was that certain oriental nations are struggling to totally reconcile western ideas with their culture and belief system and this tremendously affects them in a negative way. The good thing oriental nations can do is to integrate any experience or idea that may seem applicable to their culture while discarding others that are seemingly irrelevant.

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