World Culture and Western Culture

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John McCarthy

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Sep 27, 1992, 1:34:36 PM9/27/92
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The following is a response to the idea that Western Culture courses
should be replaced by multiculturalism.

I'll bet that some of the responses will be to accuse me of saying
things I don't say.

\title{WESTERN TECHNOLOGY---WORLD TECHNOLOOGY, WESTERN CIVILIZATION---WORLD CIVILIZATION}

Today we have a world technology that is a descendant of
Western technology. Before 1500 non-Western countries contributed a
lot to the technological base of Western technology, and today many
non-Western countries are very good at world technology. However, for
about 500 years, say between 1450 and 1950, almost all significant
technological advances were made in the West. It isn't very
controversial that the reason Western technology won out is because it
was better. The ships carried more goods faster and more safely, the
guns worked better, fewer babies died, literacy became universal. It
is also non-controversial that today this technology is no longer the
property of Western countries.

The same is true of culture and the institutions of
civilization though not to the same extent as in the case of
technology. There is a world culture today that is mostly a
descendant of Western culture. Moreover, the superiority of Western
culture and civilization contributed to Western political pre-eminence
almost as much as did the superiority of Western technology. The use
of the word ``superiority'' rather than something softer is
intentional; this debate has a tradition of vigorous language.

Today the inheritance of Western culture and civilization is
not the property of Western countries. In many of its aspects it is
the basis of a world culture, and this needs to be evaluated in each
area separately. Thus the Western music presently dominates the world
except for India, while Western cooking traditions don't. Chinese
cooking has penetrated the West to a greater extent than any Western
cuisine has penetrated China. Indian cooking penetrated Britain more
than British cooking penetrated India. The purpose of these examples
is advance the idea that Western culture is winning where it is better
and not winning where it isn't.

Most important is the fact political electoral democracy
has turned out to just as much of a necessity for a decent life
in China, Russia and Burma as it is in the West.

An early example of a cultural superiority contributing
to political domination is the conquest of Mexico by Cortez with
500 men. The decisive battles were fought when the
Conquistadores were out of ammunition for their firearms and
using Aztec cotton armor that had proved superior to their metal
armor. Sixteenth century Spanish Catholicism had many faults
and has long been intellectually and morally obsolete. It was
intolerant as shown by the Inquisition, and moreover, its
adherents often violated its moral precepts.

Nevertheless, the Spanish victory was substantially a
consequence of Spanish Catholicism's intellectual and moral
superiority to Aztec religion and ideology. In the first place, it
proclaimed universal religious and moral principles. These principles
were asserted to be applicable to Mexican Indians just as well as to
whites. In particular, it proclaimed that human sacrifice was
universally wrong, not merely that it wasn't the Spanish custom.
These principles and the religious organizations that promulgated them
enabled the Spanish to gain allies and to gain converts. (I don't
suppose that I would avoid charges of being pro-imperialist even
without saying anything about the results of the Spanish conquest, one
way or the other. Actually, I think that both the establishment of
the Spanish empire and its overthrow after 300 years were both
advances for the Latin American peoples.)

The superiority of Western civilization over traditional Asian
civilizations seems to be real though not so overwhelming. The idea
of democracy is Western, but its application to non-Western countries
only began in the late nineteenth century, so that can't account for
the earlier Western cultural superiority.

An early example of generally exploitative colonialism doing
good might be the British suppression of {\it sati} in 1829. {\it
Sati} is the Hindu custom of a widow throwing herself on her husband's
funeral pyre. Its suppression was triggered by Indian widows fleeing
to the British to avoid the enforced suicide. This illustrates that
the British already had a reputation in India as people to whom one
could flee to avoid some kinds of injustice. Before suppressing {\it
sati} the British argued among themselves about whether the evil of
the custom justified interfering with Indian religion.

Here are some of the items which the West has contributed
to world culture and civilization. With each of the following, the
reader should consider (a) whether it developed primarily in the
West and (b) whether today it is a part of world culture and civilization
and not just a phenomenon in Western countries.

1. In politics. The rule of law rather than the rule of
autocrats or conspiratorial political parties. The idea of democracy
and many ideas about human rights. The idea of national rights and of
international law. The idea of political struggle for social goals
rather than just the oriental ideas of how rulers can be virtuous.

The idea that slavery was immoral was followed by
the suppression of the slave trade and then of slavery itself.
This required a civil war in the United States. Perhaps the
American Civil War was the first war that was even partially
about the rights of third parties, i.e. the northern whites
fought the southern whites at least partially about the rights of
southern blacks.

The idea of a written constitution is American in origin
but owes much to the British tradition that began with the
Magna Carta in 1215.

2. Harmony and counterpoint in music. This has
penetrated all countries, and Seiji Ozawa is just as much an heir
of Beethoven as any Austrian. Whether the Western musical
advances have any necessary relation to other cultural advances,
I have no idea.

3. The novel as a form of literature.

4. Analytic philosophy. All other important philosophies
reached dead ends in which they are still stuck.

5. The business corporation, the free market and
limitation of government power.

6. The idea of progress in science, technology and
human affairs.

7. Of course, the West has contributed its share of bad ideas
and regrettable cultural phenomena. These include Marxism, various
forms of racism, Fascism, the balance of nature, Heavy Metal and
multiculturalism.

The multiculturalism idea, that all cultural traditions are
equally valuable is today being overcome at great cost in the former
colonial countries. Arbitrarily trying to invent alternatives to
democracy and capitalism are just as unlikely to succeed as trying to
invent alternatives to the airplane.

As you see, I find great virtues in Western culture
and civilization. Since Western culture and civilization form the
basis of present world culture and civilization, it make senses
to emphasize their study. Of course, it doesn't follow that requiring
the study of these subjects will instill corresponding virtues in
college students. It doesn't even seem to instill them in the people
who teach the courses. If these ideas are correct, we
should add to the study of Western Culture the history of
its world-wide application. This could include the study of
writers like Sun Yat-sen and Kemal Attaturk and the politics
of Westernizers like Peter the Great. Opponents of Westerization
also need consideration.

I have used rather provocative examples in this essay, and
perhaps I should change them. Lest you think I haven't read any
contrary opinions, let me finish by quoting the writer Susan Sontag,
who may have changed her mind since she wrote the following. After
all, what's an essay without a little racism.

``The white race is the cancer of history. It is the white
race and it alone---its ideologies and inventions--- which
eradicates autonomous civilizations whereever it spreads,
which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which
now threatens the very existence of life itself.''
--
John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
*
He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

Manoj Ghayalod

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Sep 27, 1992, 9:51:28 PM9/27/92
to
> An early example of generally exploitative colonialism doing
>good might be the British suppression of {\it sati} in 1829. {\it
>Sati} is the Hindu custom of a widow throwing herself on her husband's
>funeral pyre. Its suppression was triggered by Indian widows fleeing
>to the British to avoid the enforced suicide. This illustrates that
>the British already had a reputation in India as people to whom one
>could flee to avoid some kinds of injustice. Before suppressing {\it
>sati} the British argued among themselves about whether the evil of
>the custom justified interfering with Indian religion.
>
Sati was basically eliminated by Indian leaders like Mahtma Gandhi
the British did not want to interfere as they thought hindus would
object thus rock the British rule in India.
The British had no reputation for justice in India, in fact they
were known to take over Indian kingdoms unfairly and prevent
Indian industries from functioning, that's why most Indians
fought for freedom passionately during the British rule.

>
> The multiculturalism idea, that all cultural traditions are
>equally valuable is today being overcome at great cost in the former
>colonial countries. Arbitrarily trying to invent alternatives to
>democracy and capitalism are just as unlikely to succeed as trying to
>invent alternatives to the airplane.

There is an alternative for airplane, helicopter, if you want
to fly further and faster we have rockets. I don't seem to
get your point here.

manoj

Sridhar Venkateswaran

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Sep 27, 1992, 11:35:23 PM9/27/92
to
j...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU (John McCarthy) writes:

>The following is a response to the idea that Western Culture courses
>should be replaced by multiculturalism.

>I'll bet that some of the responses will be to accuse me of saying
>things I don't say.

>\title{WESTERN TECHNOLOGY---WORLD TECHNOLOOGY, WESTERN CIVILIZATION---WORLD CIVILIZATION}

<deleted>


> Here are some of the items which the West has contributed
>to world culture and civilization. With each of the following, the
>reader should consider (a) whether it developed primarily in the
>West and (b) whether today it is a part of world culture and civilization
>and not just a phenomenon in Western countries.

<deleted>

> 2. Harmony and counterpoint in music. This has
>penetrated all countries, and Seiji Ozawa is just as much an heir
>of Beethoven as any Austrian. Whether the Western musical
>advances have any necessary relation to other cultural advances,
>I have no idea.

As far as i know, The `Classical' form of music - where u have proper notes,
styles, variations etc started in India. MUCH before the western civilization
was even BORN !!!! and the 2 broad forms of Classical music in india -
Hindustani (followed by mainly the northern states) and Carnatic (followed by
the southern states) are still probably the most popular forms of music in
India. (there is ofcourse the film music `form' which is heard by more numbers
but here i am referring to `formal' music. So -
Western music (classical or otherwise) is NOT older
It is Not the first to formalise music either. !!
<deleted>

> 3. The novel as a form of literature.

Again, the Indian mythologies are probably the best example of `novels in the
form of literature' that u can find. They are DEFINITELY considered as
literature AND they consist of many stories which are true even in today's
context ( scenes from the Mahabharata , for e.g. in terms of human relationships
) and these are MUCH OLDER than the western literature. ( i have no idea about
the dates, so i dont want to quote incorrect dates - maybe one of the people
reading this can clarify )

> 4. Analytic philosophy. All other important philosophies
>reached dead ends in which they are still stuck.

I can quote the epic `Mahabharatha' again, for the Philosophies that it contains
which are still relevent inthe present day world. You can still read the
Bhagwad Gita and learn proper morals and philosophy from it.

<deleted>


> 7. Of course, the West has contributed its share of bad ideas
>and regrettable cultural phenomena. These include Marxism, various
>forms of racism, Fascism, the balance of nature, Heavy Metal and
>multiculturalism.

I am not sure i understand you here. Is the West reponsible for the bad idea
and regrettable cultural phenomena called `multiculturalism' ??!!

> The multiculturalism idea, that all cultural traditions are
>equally valuable is today being overcome at great cost in the former
>colonial countries. Arbitrarily trying to invent alternatives to
>democracy and capitalism are just as unlikely to succeed as trying to
>invent alternatives to the airplane.

Now, i am totally lost. The multicutures EXIST today. Nobody is trying to
invent alternatives. Democracy and capitalism, in fact, as they exist, today,
ARE alternatives to the age-old Cultures and tradtions of the Indian or
Chinese civilizations. !!!!


> As you see, I find great virtues in Western culture
>and civilization. Since Western culture and civilization form the
>basis of present world culture and civilization, it make senses

No i dont see. The points that u have raised, at least as far as India is
concerned, i could show that a few of those dont hold.
What i agree with is - capitalism has suceeded to a large extent and
all other countries are adopting this philosophy. and since it the west - US,
specifically- is strong economically, they have a lot of CLOUT in the
international organisations and hence the `basis of present world culture and
civilisation'.

>to emphasize their study. Of course, it doesn't follow that requiring
>the study of these subjects will instill corresponding virtues in
>college students. It doesn't even seem to instill them in the people
>who teach the courses. If these ideas are correct, we
>should add to the study of Western Culture the history of
>its world-wide application. This could include the study of
>writers like Sun Yat-sen and Kemal Attaturk and the politics
>of Westernizers like Peter the Great. Opponents of Westerization
>also need consideration.

Here u are right. regarding the inclusion of the works of Great writers/
philosophers of Asia. and Africa too should be included.
I am not aware of the present system of education in the west. The few people
in US have said that they hardly study anything about the rest of the world.
and that is something lacking in the system. The Indian education system, for
e.g. includes a lot of world history, we study the entire formation of the
European nations, the American history, african history etc. enough to tell
the high school students of the existence of the world outside and stimulate
their interest so that they can continue to keep track of the world. Not like
the US for e.g. where, i was surprised to note that the educated people in
various universities have NO IDEA about indians. and that considering the fact
that most of the top US universities have a sizable indian population. They
dont even comprehend the fact that indians can speak english !! The first
questions that i came across here in the universities was - "where did u learn
to speak English ? " !!!! So much for their knowledge of other cultures. and
mind you , i am not talking of people off the streets. I am talking of people
working in the universities. most of the time our employers !!!


- Sridhar V
--

Sridhar Venkateswaran Email: srid...@uiuc.edu
1006, West Stoughton, #11 Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL - 61801.

tus...@dent.uchicago.edu

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Sep 28, 1992, 12:43:36 AM9/28/92
to
In response to a letter which said

>I'll bet that some of the responses will be to accuse me of saying
>things I don't say.

Sridhar Venkateswaran writes:

>> 2. Harmony and counterpoint in music. This has

>>penetrated all countries, ...


>
>As far as i know, The `Classical' form of music - where u have proper notes,
>styles, variations etc started in India. MUCH before the western civilization
>was even BORN !!!! and the 2 broad forms of Classical music in india -
>Hindustani (followed by mainly the northern states) and Carnatic (followed by
>the southern states) are still probably the most popular forms of music in
>India. (there is ofcourse the film music `form' which is heard by more numbers
>but here i am referring to `formal' music. So -
> Western music (classical or otherwise) is NOT older
> It is Not the first to formalise music either. !!


tushar

Vivek R. Prabhu

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Sep 28, 1992, 1:51:20 AM9/28/92
to
In article <Bv9MH...@ucunix.san.uc.edu> gha...@ucunix.san.uc.edu (Manoj Ghayalod) writes:
>> An early example of generally exploitative colonialism doing
>>good might be the British suppression of {\it sati} in 1829. {\it
>>Sati} is the Hindu custom of a widow throwing herself on her husband's
>>funeral pyre. Its suppression was triggered by Indian widows fleeing
>>to the British to avoid the enforced suicide. This illustrates that
>>the British already had a reputation in India as people to whom one
>>could flee to avoid some kinds of injustice. Before suppressing {\it
>>sati} the British argued among themselves about whether the evil of
>>the custom justified interfering with Indian religion.
>>
>Sati was basically eliminated by Indian leaders like Mahtma Gandhi
>the British did not want to interfere as they thought hindus would
>object thus rock the British rule in India.
>The British had no reputation for justice in India, in fact they
>were known to take over Indian kingdoms unfairly and prevent
>Indian industries from functioning, that's why most Indians
>fought for freedom passionately during the British rule.

The British in reality were not even saviours of the Indian widows. There
are many examples of the British soldiers having raped widows after having
so-calledly rescuing them from the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.

>
>>
>> The multiculturalism idea, that all cultural traditions are
>>equally valuable is today being overcome at great cost in the former
>>colonial countries. Arbitrarily trying to invent alternatives to
>>democracy and capitalism are just as unlikely to succeed as trying to
>>invent alternatives to the airplane.

Democracy and capitalism are not necessarily the best systems to have been
implemented in this world. It is the implementation of the system that is
important, and not the type of system. Even a most well meaning democratic
system can be misused, particulalrly in countries where the people are not
keen to participate in the electoral process, or do not have any interest
whatsoever in the leaders and the policies that they decide that guide the
the country.


Regards,
Vivek.

--
vi...@cscihp.ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu),
Systems Engineering Laboratory, Department Of Computer Science,
School Of Engineering, Computer Science And Technology,
California State University, Chico, California.

Chetan D Patil

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Sep 28, 1992, 7:22:27 AM9/28/92
to

Hi Fellow netters,
These jokes are from some coverless book :

1) What is red and bubbling and scratches at the window ?

A baby in a microwave oven.


2) Why do you put the baby feet first in the blender ?

So that you can watch its expression.


3) What is the perfect gift for a dead baby ?

A dead puppy.

4) What is the difference between a truckload of dead babies and
a truckload of bowling balls ?

You can use the pitchfork with the babies.

The following joke is not to be taken as demeaning etc..


A Pole and an Italian were having an argument about who folds
a parachute bests. It was decided to settle the matter by
judging the mid air performance of the parachutes.
So they hire a plane and set off to high altitudes.
The Pole jumps first, pulls the cord, the chute opens and he
slowly drifts down.
The Italian jumps next, pulls the cord and nothing happens.
He pulls the safety cord and still nothing happens and he
plummets down towards the earth like a stone.
The Pole sees him passing by,says " so you wanna race eh !"
and pulls off his chute.

Have funnn....

Chetan

Josh Stern

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Sep 28, 1992, 8:41:47 AM9/28/92
to
> John McCarthy writes:

> The following is a response to the idea that Western Culture courses

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


> should be replaced by multiculturalism.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^?

I presume that you mean to say that you are responding to something like
the idea that (mandatory or optional?) courses in Western Universities
which provide introductory surveys to Western Culture should be (replaced or)
supplemented with survey courses that describe the culture and achievements
of both Western and non-Western cultures.

Assuming that one is comfortable with the idea of evaluating, in the abstract,
the merits of a generic course on Western Culture and a generic course on
non-Western Culture (I'm not really comfortable with this but I'll leave that
issue aside) there are at least eight grossly different positions which one
might take: university students should be (pick one of the following:)
a) required or b) able to enroll in (pick one of the following:) i) a survey
course on Western Culture, ii) a survey course on non-Western Culture, iii) a
survey course on both Western and non-Western culture, iv) any or none of the
above depending on which makes sense coupled with the choice of a) or b).

Below, you argue, roughly, that Western Culture is "superior" to other
cultures. I disagree with many of the points you make on this topic -
some of which I elaborate on below - but since it is unclear exactly which of
the eight positions you are arguing for or against and which of the eight
positions you identify "multiculturalism" with (assuming again that you
do not literally mean that multiculturalism is some kind of a curriclum
item), I will refrain from extensive commentary on the issue of how the
proposition 'Western Culture is superior to non-Western culture', even if
both sensical and true, should be taken to bear on the aforementioned
positions concerning educational curriculum. That (perhaps non-) issue
seems to me to be a complex one worthy of its own debate, and, again, may
not be most judiciously discussed in the abstract, and independently from
consideration of both particular courses, the particular curriculum, and
the particular students in question.


> I'll bet that some of the responses will be to accuse me of saying
> things I don't say.

I'll settle for trying to charitably ascertain what it is that you do say.

> \title{WESTERN TECHNOLOGY---WORLD TECHNOLOOGY, WESTERN CIVILIZATION---WORLD CIVILIZATION}

Ah! LaTEX! Another gift of the West. 8-)

> Today we have a world technology that is a descendant of
> Western technology. Before 1500 non-Western countries contributed a
> lot to the technological base of Western technology, and today many
> non-Western countries are very good at world technology. However, for
> about 500 years, say between 1450 and 1950, almost all significant
> technological advances were made in the West. It isn't very
> controversial that the reason Western technology won out is because it
> was better. The ships carried more goods faster and more safely, the
> guns worked better, fewer babies died, literacy became universal. It
> is also non-controversial that today this technology is no longer the
> property of Western countries.

It isn't controversial that SOME of the Western technologies worked better.
The guns and the ships for instance. Continuing with your examples
however, it seems likely that Western medical technology was more
widespread in, say, the year 1860, than Chinese medical technology even
though it was technologically inferior. The fact that Western guns and ships
were superior was sufficient by itself to insure this. Some technologies
seem to be decidedly more important to the propogation of cultural artifacts
to foreign sites than others.


> The same is true of culture and the institutions of
> civilization though not to the same extent as in the case of
> technology. There is a world culture today that is mostly a
> descendant of Western culture. Moreover, the superiority of Western
> culture and civilization contributed to Western political pre-eminence
> almost as much as did the superiority of Western technology. The use
> of the word ``superiority'' rather than something softer is
> intentional; this debate has a tradition of vigorous language.

When one asserts that "technology A is superior to technology B" one
is, implicitly, acknowledging that both technologies are attempts
at achieving some material purpose and that technology A is generally more
effective in that attempt. Typically when someone asserts that "culture A
is superior to culture B" they are, implicitly, stating that they, and maybe
their friends, like culture A better than culture B. For example, I might
assert the superiority of Japanese cuisine to, say, Scottish cuisine and
support my assertion with the observation that ``everyone'' prefers
unagi maki to haggis.

Seriously, what are you proposing as semi-objective criteria for assertions
of cultural superiority? Lack of civil strife? Avoidance of wars?
Resistance to external perturbations? Listing such things does not
exactly bring one immediately to conclude that Western Civ. is preeminent.


> Today the inheritance of Western culture and civilization is
> not the property of Western countries. In many of its aspects it is
> the basis of a world culture, and this needs to be evaluated in each
> area separately. Thus the Western music presently dominates the world
> except for India, while Western cooking traditions don't. Chinese
> cooking has penetrated the West to a greater extent than any Western
> cuisine has penetrated China. Indian cooking penetrated Britain more
> than British cooking penetrated India. The purpose of these examples
> is advance the idea that Western culture is winning where it is better
> and not winning where it isn't.

It seems that you are implicitly proposing that culture A should
be judged superior to culture B if it becomes more widespread. This
is an objective criteria but not a very good one. One reason, alluded
to above, is that military strenth and economic structure have a
disproportionate influence on whether cultures spread or die out.

For example, if Tribe A successfully completes a genocidal massacre of
Tribe B then the culture of Tribe B will die out and that of Tribe A will
be able to spread. But all we really know about these two cultures is that
the military might of A could best the military might of B, at least so far
as the members of B were disposed to organize their military. The importance
of economies is demonstrated by the history of European Imperialism.
Imperialism, of course, is a phenomena that primarily (for a Marxist,
definitionally) occurs only when the agressor nation possesses an economy
of a type which can directly benefit from the subordination of the
victim state. The point here is that cultures which are disposed to fight,
good at fighting, and have reasons to fight will be to more widespread.

Similar examples also operate at the level of individual rather than societal
competition (and hence which pertain to the cultural values directly held by
individuals) we can consider any of the situations which are well described
by mathematical models such as `sheep vs. wolves' and `prisoner's dillemna'.
Very often in such situations there is one way of behaving which is
globally most beneficial for all of the players in the game IF everyone adopts
that strategy, but which is not a favorable strategy in the presence of
some other strategies. This is typically true of pacifistic behaviors.
In competitive situations such behaviors are not stable strategies (because
they lose out in the presence of fighters), and hence, by the criteria of
widespreadness they will inevitably come to be judged as ``inferior'' to more
agressive strategies once the latter are introduced. But this suggests either
that the criteria is wrongheaded or that ``superior'' is being used in a
very technical sense which we should take pains to strip of all value-related
connotations.


> Most important is the fact political electoral democracy
> has turned out to just as much of a necessity for a decent life
> in China, Russia and Burma as it is in the West.

China did not have an electoral democracy last I checked. Perhaps you
are referring to the state of Taiwan, whose semi-indigenous ethnic population
is governed by an opressive oligarchy representing a dominant minority
population which fled from mainland China when Mao came to power there, and
massacred over 20,000 Taiwanese for political reasons shortly thereafter with
the tacit support of the U.S. government.

I miss your general point also. Since marxism, communism, fascism,
and military totalitarianism have as much claim as electoral democracy,
republicanism, and parliamentarianism to be systems of government and
political philosophy with Western origins, how does the ascendance of
the former over the latter provide evidence of the ascendance of Western
culture?

> An early example of a cultural superiority contributing
> to political domination is the conquest of Mexico by Cortez with
> 500 men. The decisive battles were fought when the
> Conquistadores were out of ammunition for their firearms and
> using Aztec cotton armor that had proved superior to their metal
> armor. Sixteenth century Spanish Catholicism had many faults
> and has long been intellectually and morally obsolete. It was
> intolerant as shown by the Inquisition, and moreover, its
> adherents often violated its moral precepts.
>
> Nevertheless, the Spanish victory was substantially a
> consequence of Spanish Catholicism's intellectual and moral
> superiority to Aztec religion and ideology.
> In the first place, it
> proclaimed universal religious and moral principles. These principles
> were asserted to be applicable to Mexican Indians just as well as to
> whites. In particular, it proclaimed that human sacrifice was
> universally wrong, not merely that it wasn't the Spanish custom.
> These principles and the religious organizations that promulgated them
> enabled the Spanish to gain allies and to gain converts.

We should also take account of the Western ``advances'' in the arts of
treachery and spread of deadly viral and bacterial agents that the naive
New World immunological systems were not equipped to deal with.

> (I don't
> suppose that I would avoid charges of being pro-imperialist even
> without saying anything about the results of the Spanish conquest, one
> way or the other. Actually, I think that both the establishment of
> the Spanish empire and its overthrow after 300 years were both
> advances for the Latin American peoples.)

What's the harm in a little plunder, rape, and pillaging if it's in
a good cause? 8-)


> The superiority of Western civilization over traditional Asian
> civilizations seems to be real though not so overwhelming. The idea
> of democracy is Western, but its application to non-Western countries

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Careful, your language is showing. 8-)/2

> only began in the late nineteenth century, so that can't account for
> the earlier Western cultural superiority.

I'm missing the logic behind this sentence. Did you mean to say that
the Western countries did not, in general, have democracy until that time
so that this factor couldn't account for their earlier ``superiority''?


> An early example of generally exploitative colonialism doing
> good might be the British suppression of {\it sati} in 1829. {\it
> Sati} is the Hindu custom of a widow throwing herself on her husband's
> funeral pyre. Its suppression was triggered by Indian widows fleeing
> to the British to avoid the enforced suicide. This illustrates that
> the British already had a reputation in India as people to whom one
> could flee to avoid some kinds of injustice. Before suppressing {\it
> sati} the British argued among themselves about whether the evil of
> the custom justified interfering with Indian religion.

I mainly leave comment on the `sati question' to other posters, but
my understanding is that sati was not widespread enough in Colonial
times so that it should appear as a significant point in a discussion
of Western vs. non-Western civilization. It would take an awful lot
of sati suppression to make up for the Crusades, 400 years of African
slavery, much genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and
Australia, and the A-bomb detonation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to
mention a few highlights of Western interaction with non-Western
cultures. Also, I don't know how much of sati suppression was motivated
by compassion for "the heathen" and how much was motivated by the same
sort of attitudes which made the British feel a need to supress semi-nudity
wherever they encountered that ``evil'' practice.


> Here are some of the items which the West has contributed
> to world culture and civilization. With each of the following, the
> reader should consider (a) whether it developed primarily in the
> West and (b) whether today it is a part of world culture and civilization
> and not just a phenomenon in Western countries.
>
> 1. In politics. The rule of law rather than the rule of
> autocrats or conspiratorial political parties. The idea of democracy
> and many ideas about human rights. The idea of national rights and of
> international law. The idea of political struggle for social goals
> rather than just the oriental ideas of how rulers can be virtuous.

A little more objectivity is called for here. Basically all traditional
cultures have laws which their people respect, and grant their people
rights which they feel are important and to which they are entitled.
Cultures typically differ substantially in what these laws and rights are.
Unfortunately there are many countries now in which people do not have
many of the rights to which they think they are entitled because they
are ruled over by a small minority using military force. There is
no question in my mind that the latter type of situation (e.g. Haiti,
Iraq, South Africa) occurs more often in non-Western countries and is
a bad thing, but there is also no question that these situations are
more attributable to the de-stabilizing influences of Western military
technology and economic exploitation than to differences in indigenous
political cultures. It is Western military technology which makes it
possible for so few to subordinate so many, and, to some extent, it is
Western economics which gives them the material motivations to do so.


> The idea that slavery was immoral was followed by
> the suppression of the slave trade and then of slavery itself.
> This required a civil war in the United States. Perhaps the
> American Civil War was the first war that was even partially
> about the rights of third parties, i.e. the northern whites
> fought the southern whites at least partially about the rights of
> southern blacks.

> The idea of a written constitution is American in origin
> but owes much to the British tradition that began with the
> Magna Carta in 1215.
>
> 2. Harmony and counterpoint in music. This has
> penetrated all countries, and Seiji Ozawa is just as much an heir
> of Beethoven as any Austrian. Whether the Western musical
> advances have any necessary relation to other cultural advances,
> I have no idea.
>
> 3. The novel as a form of literature.
>
> 4. Analytic philosophy. All other important philosophies
> reached dead ends in which they are still stuck.
>
> 5. The business corporation, the free market and
> limitation of government power.
>
> 6. The idea of progress in science, technology and
> human affairs.

I like Western Culture too. But you claim to be arguing that Western
culture is ``superior'' to other cultures. Comparable lists of
cultural highlights can be compiled for many cultures (especially if
one makes the categories as broad as Western Culture). Why are the
achievements of Western Culture ``better''? More importantly, what does
``better'' mean?


> 7. Of course, the West has contributed its share of bad ideas
> and regrettable cultural phenomena. These include Marxism, various
> forms of racism, Fascism, the balance of nature, Heavy Metal and
> multiculturalism.

If the criteria of ``superior'' is still widespreadness then Heavy Metal
music certainly beats up on baroque music and madrigals. While we are
at it then the Big Mac is the best food recipe in the world. "Dallas"
was among the best dramatic productions ever, and Astrology is the best
form of personal decision-making.


> The multiculturalism idea, that all cultural traditions are
> equally valuable is today being overcome at great cost in the former
> colonial countries. Arbitrarily trying to invent alternatives to
> democracy and capitalism are just as unlikely to succeed as trying to
> invent alternatives to the airplane.


Which planet are you living on?
Since when does Earth have a big problem with people thinking that
"all cultural traditions are equally valuable"?
As far as I can tell, almost all Earthlings have firm beliefs about which
cultural tradition is the most valuable - their own. And that is the way
it has always been. Issues of multiculturalism in the educational system
aside, do you really doubt that a little more multiculturalism - as you
define it above - in the world wouldn't do the planet some good?


> As you see, I find great virtues in Western culture
> and civilization. Since Western culture and civilization form the
> basis of present world culture and civilization, it make senses
> to emphasize their study.

It's hard to disagree with a statement of the form "It's good to study X,"
for most choices of X, Western culture included. But you want to argue
that it is more important to study Western culture than other cultures
because it has more virtues. The argument for the latter seems to be
a) it is more widespread and b) John McCarthy finds more good things
in it (we'll assume for the basis of argument that he has had adequate
exposure to other cultures to make the comparison a fair one).
In regard to point a), one could just as easily make the opposite case.
If Western Culture is more widespread then there is more need to emphasize
the study other cultures that students will be less likely to encounter
through other routes. It's hard to say too much against point b) but
it does seem to lack a certain objectivity.


> Of course, it doesn't follow that requiring
> the study of these subjects will instill corresponding virtues in
> college students. It doesn't even seem to instill them in the people
> who teach the courses. If these ideas are correct, we
> should add to the study of Western Culture the history of
> its world-wide application. This could include the study of
> writers like Sun Yat-sen and Kemal Attaturk and the politics
> of Westernizers like Peter the Great. Opponents of Westerization
> also need consideration.
>
> I have used rather provocative examples in this essay, and
> perhaps I should change them. Lest you think I haven't read any
> contrary opinions, let me finish by quoting the writer Susan Sontag,
> who may have changed her mind since she wrote the following. After
> all, what's an essay without a little racism.
>
> ``The white race is the cancer of history. It is the white
> race and it alone---its ideologies and inventions--- which
> eradicates autonomous civilizations whereever it spreads,
> which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which
> now threatens the very existence of life itself.''
> --
> John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
> *
> He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.


Josh Stern jo...@aris.ss.uci.edu


Yesudas, Michael

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 10:50:00 AM9/28/92
to
In article <1992Sep28....@ecst.csuchico.edu>, vi...@ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu) writes...

>In article <Bv9MH...@ucunix.san.uc.edu> gha...@ucunix.san.uc.edu (Manoj Ghayalod) writes:

(Deleted)

>
>The British in reality were not even saviours of the Indian widows. There
>are many examples of the British soldiers having raped widows after having
>so-calledly rescuing them from the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.

Interesting! Can you quote one solid case??


>
>Democracy and capitalism are not necessarily the best systems to have been
>implemented in this world. It is the implementation of the system that is

Then what is?? Theocracy? Communism? Monarchy? Oligarchy? Dictatorship?

>important, and not the type of system. Even a most well meaning democratic
>system can be misused, particulalrly in countries where the people are not
>keen to participate in the electoral process, or do not have any interest
>whatsoever in the leaders and the policies that they decide that guide the
>the country.
>
>
>Regards,
>Vivek.
>
>--
>vi...@cscihp.ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu),
>Systems Engineering Laboratory, Department Of Computer Science,
>School Of Engineering, Computer Science And Technology,
>California State University, Chico, California.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Michael Yesudas | The control of the means of production |
| Mechanical Engineering | of wealth is the absolute control of |
| University of Houston | human life itself |
| mec...@jetson.uh.edu | -- Hilaire Belloc |
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jan Sparrendahl

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 12:44:02 PM9/28/92
to
In article <28SEP199...@jane.uh.edu>, mec...@jane.uh.edu (Yesudas, Michael) writes:
|> In article <1992Sep28....@ecst.csuchico.edu>, vi...@ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu) writes...
|> >In article <Bv9MH...@ucunix.san.uc.edu> gha...@ucunix.san.uc.edu (Manoj Ghayalod) writes:
|> >The British in reality were not even saviours of the Indian widows. There
|> >are many examples of the British soldiers having raped widows after having
|> >so-calledly rescuing them from the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.

The difference, of course, being that the widowmurder
was an effect of a crual tradition and law in India
and the aleged rape being a criminal offence comitted
by a perverted indevidual.
One could ponder wether the present problem with bride-
prises is related in any way?

|> >Democracy and capitalism are not necessarily the best systems to have been
|> >implemented in this world. It is the implementation of the system that is

It is sad to see that many people who advocates national
pride in nations that has been under inforced rule by
a western nation tend to attack ideas correctly or incorrectly
associated with the western form of government like
democracy. A brief look at the problems in Africa would
show clearly the problems this attitude cases.

In my country we have an ideom for that. That is:
To throw out the cild with its bathing water.

Exaggerating strong anti western attitudes is a
favourite escuse for tyrants.

Surya N Kavuri

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 1:00:55 PM9/28/92
to
In article <1992Sep28.0...@sserve.cc.adfa.oz.au>, Christop...@adfa.oz.au (Christopher JS Vance) writes:

> In article <1992Sep28....@ecst.csuchico.edu> vi...@ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu) writes:
> | The British in reality were not even saviours of the Indian widows. There
> | are many examples of the British soldiers having raped widows after having
> | so-calledly rescuing them from the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.
>
> Does that mean that they *weren't* rescued from the funeral pyres?
> One man's barbarism does not excuse another's. I guess the question
> is whether the widows preferred to be alive after having been raped,
> or dead before. People don't seem to be very nice anywhere.
>
> -- Christopher

What do you mean by *rescued* ?

May be you prefer to being raped than dead, but don't generalize.

Not all people are masochistic. They may prefer being alive and not
raped.


FIAT LUX

Chris Brewster

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 5:55:56 PM9/28/92
to
John McCarthy writes:
...

An early example of a cultural superiority contributing
to political domination is the conquest of Mexico by Cortez with
500 men. The decisive battles were fought when the
Conquistadores were out of ammunition for their firearms and
using Aztec cotton armor that had proved superior to their metal
armor. ...

Nevertheless, the Spanish victory was substantially a
consequence of Spanish Catholicism's intellectual and moral
superiority to Aztec religion and ideology. In the first place, it
proclaimed universal religious and moral principles. These principles
were asserted to be applicable to Mexican Indians just as well as to
whites. In particular, it proclaimed that human sacrifice was
universally wrong, not merely that it wasn't the Spanish custom.
These principles and the religious organizations that promulgated them

enabled the Spanish to gain allies and to gain converts. ...

I'd like to believe that the Spanish Conquest was the victory of
humanitarian ethical ideals over despotism and human sacrifice, but it
doesn't wash.

First, as soon as the Spaniards appeared, the inhabitants of the Aztec
capital were immediately decimated by a plague. This (usually
unintentional) germ warfare was always critical to the colonists'
military success.

Second, the Aztecs, like most indigenous peoples in the Americas, were
initially awed by the visitors and considered them gods. They
accordingly weakened their position in ways that they wouldn't have done
if they had understood Spanish intentions. So it was partly a victory
of European realism over native superstition, but I see no moral
difference.

Finally, the Spanish themselves represented a despotic form of
government and typically enslaved the conquered peoples, often in the
most barbaric ways. Nothing enlightened or modern about that.

I too believe that the West has created a uniquely versatile and
powerful intellectual tradition, including great moral and political
ideas, but I still feel that the West's sins come close to equalling its
accomplishments.

Chris Brewster
c...@cray.com

Seetamraju Udaybhaskar

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 3:48:19 PM9/28/92
to

> to the British to avoid the enforced suicide. This illustrates that
the British already had a reputation in India as people to whom one
could flee to avoid some kinds of injustice. Before suppressing {\it

I disagree again. Would people have approached them if (theoretically
speaking) some missonaries were forcibly converting them to christianity...

Just because, there was no one among indians who could argue for them and
protect them, the widows turned to the british. But, yes they did good.

> 1. In politics. The rule of law rather than the rule of
autocrats or conspiratorial political parties. The idea of democracy
and many ideas about human rights. The idea of national rights and of
international law. The idea of political struggle for social goals
rather than just the oriental ideas of how rulers can be virtuous.

Wrong. Human rights and law was quite sophisticated in all of the east.
Its major weakness being that it was never in CONCRETE form, meaning
some one powerful, would erase/modify them. The wests concept of
written and HARD_COPY version of law is the critical difference. Meaning
if someone destroyed one copy of the constitution, there were many more...

Lastly, you are unfairly, clubbing indians and others (as orientals )w.r.t
`social-struggle' --- Hinduism doesnot encourage social struggle. You
wait till...(karmanyae_vaadHikaarastae maa phalaeshu kadaachana.....etc...)

This is not so in other socieites. Definitely wrong there, you were...

> 4. Analytic philosophy. All other important philosophies
reached dead ends in which they are still stuck.

Explain with atleast one example....

> 5. The business corporation, the free market and
limitation of government power.


Yes, I agree these are the most important facets of a progressive human
race...


> forms of racism, Fascism, the balance of nature, Heavy Metal and
multiculturalism.

You have extremely strong born-again-christian tendencies in your
arguments and attitudes... What is wrong with heavy metal. It happens
to be the medium of expression of some people...


Seetamraju Udaya Bhaskar Sarma
(email : seetam @ ece7 . eng . wayne . edu)

Seetamraju Udaybhaskar

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 3:55:42 PM9/28/92
to
In article <1992Sep28....@ecst.csuchico.edu> vi...@ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu) writes:
>
>The British in reality were not even saviours of the Indian widows. There
>are many examples of the British soldiers having raped widows after having
>so-calledly rescuing them from the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.

Did you know all the soldiers in british uniforms were indians.
Only the officers were actual whites. (Not even hybrids-angloindians)...
The only time indians saw actual british foot soldiers were
near the WW II time....

Niranjan Kale

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 10:18:37 PM9/28/92
to
In article <1992Sep28.1...@utagraph.uta.edu> cpa...@cse.uta.edu (Chetan D Patil) writes:
>
>Hi Fellow netters,
> These jokes are from some coverless book :
>
> 1) What is red and bubbling and scratches at the window ?
>
> A baby in a microwave oven.
>
...... rest of the sick mindless drivel deleted
>
>
> Have funnn....
>
> Chetan

Mr. Chetan,

If you enjoyed such jokes, obviously you have a problem. You should seek
either some psychological help or think a little more before posting
such pervert and sick material on the net. You remind me of the racist and
sexist comedian Andrew Dice Clay. Obviously this is a free society and
you are free to post any sick , vulgure things that come to your mind but
do not cry foul if you get flamed for it.

- Niranjan


Suresh Doki

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 8:55:55 AM9/29/92
to

>>Hi Fellow netters,
>> These jokes are from some coverless book :
>> 1) What is red and bubbling and scratches at the window ?
>> A baby in a microwave oven.
> ...... rest of the sick mindless drivel deleted
>> Chetan
>Mr. Chetan,
>If you enjoyed such jokes, obviously you have a problem. You should seek
>either some psychological help or think a little more before posting
>such pervert and sick material on the net. You remind me of the racist and
>sexist comedian Andrew Dice Clay. Obviously this is a free society and
>you are free to post any sick , vulgure things that come to your mind but
>do not cry foul if you get flamed for it.
>- Niranjan

ha ha ha i have some more that you might like to hear:

What's the worst thing about fucking bald pussy?
Putting the diaper back on.
(If your suggestive "flame" is for me to get therapy, I know that already!)

What's the most effective way to load dead babies on to a pickup truck?
Snowblower! (accompany with sound effects and gestures suggestive of plowing
through a stack of dead babies with a violent, chopping machine ).

What's the difference between a truckload of dead baby's and a truck load of
watermelon?
The babys can be unloaded with a pitch fork!

What bubbles and taps on glass?
A baby in the microwave

Why do you put a baby into a blender feet first?
so you can see the expression on its face:)

Whats red slimy and crawls from trashcans?
Homesick abortions

Whats worse than nailing a dead baby to the wall?
Ripping it off

Whats red and hangs in tress?
A baby gone through a snowblower

What's worse than ten baby's in one trash can?
One baby in ten trash cans

Whats worse than a truck load of dead babys?
A truck load of dead babys with a live one at the bottom trying to eat his way
out...

Whats worse than that?
He makes it...

How do you fit 1000 dead babys into a phone booth?
With a blender

hope you enjoyed these jokes :-)

suresh

Manoj Ghayalod

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 9:21:25 PM9/28/92
to
In article <1992Sep28.1...@kth.se> d89...@nada.kth.se (Jan Sparrendahl) writes:
>In article <28SEP199...@jane.uh.edu>, mec...@jane.uh.edu (Yesudas, Michael) writes:
>|> In article <1992Sep28....@ecst.csuchico.edu>, vi...@ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu) writes...
>|> >In article <Bv9MH...@ucunix.san.uc.edu> gha...@ucunix.san.uc.edu (Manoj Ghayalod) writes:
>
> The difference, of course, being that the widowmurder
> was an effect of a crual tradition and law in India
> and the aleged rape being a criminal offence comitted
> by a perverted indevidual.
> One could ponder wether the present problem with bride-
^^^^^^

> prises is related in any way?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
I could not understand you perfectly here. The point I am trying
to make here is that the British did not stop widow burning in
India, great Indian leaders did that. And also widow burning was
not as widespread as believed by most people it was performed by
a few perverted individuals (like you say).

>
> It is sad to see that many people who advocates national
> pride in nations that has been under inforced rule by
> a western nation tend to attack ideas correctly or incorrectly
> associated with the western form of government like
> democracy. A brief look at the problems in Africa would
> show clearly the problems this attitude cases.
>
> In my country we have an ideom for that. That is:
> To throw out the cild with its bathing water.
>
> Exaggerating strong anti western attitudes is a
> favourite escuse for tyrants.
>
Obviously the Western form of democracy is a better system than
the others available and India is implementing this system,
but the fact remains that no former Western powers ever used their
systems to benifit their former colonies (as the orginal poster
seems to claim). But on the contrary all the colonies were
ruthlessly exploited.

Manoj

Stuart Sechrest

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 11:06:20 PM9/28/92
to

John McCarthy's list of examples of the contributions of Western culture
is certainly heterogeneous: the rule of law, musical harmony and
counterpoint, the novel, analytic philosophy, the business corporation,
the idea of progress.

One problem that people have with this list is the belief that these
achievements are quite common, or existed in some prototype form in
other cultures. Thus, the idea that an epic poem is some sort of
protonovel. I think this view often overstates the importance of the
prototypes, and understates the uniqueness of the creations.

Another problem is that some achievements are not really
necessary. The architect and writer Witold Rybzinsky has pointed out that
very few cultures have developed comfortable chairs (essentially some European
and Chinese cultures). In other cultures people squat or sit on
cushions. They get along fine. This does not mean that developing
comfortable furniture is not a cultural achievement.

On the otherhand, I think it is mistaken to view the spread of Western
cultural ideas both within and outside the West to be a simple transfer.
Cultural interactions are very complex, as one quickly finds in reading
of, for example, the development of Jazz or of the modern Japanese state.

Still, the West has developed philosophical (in a broad sense) conceptions
that are unique and powerful. I think that to understand the cultural
achievements of Western civilization, it is necessary to understand the
alternatives that also developed in the West, and to understand what became
of them.

I) The development of Science in the West is unique. A variety of cultures
have developed practical approaches to a wide variety of problems. All
cultures possess a great store of practical knowledge (which is often
ignored, to all of our detriment). In the West, however, there was a
search that went beyond the practical, to the mystical. There was in the
fifteenth and sixteenth century, a search for God in physical matter.
Alchemy is now thought of as some sort of absurd superstition, and it is
embarrassing to some that Newton spent so much time on it. Yet, as I
understand its development, many believed that if one could dissolve matter,
one would be left with the spiritual forces of the universe. It is a
common notion that alchemists were trying to turn dross to gold. This
was only what they did for funding. They were searching for God inside
matter. Of course this didn't work out very well. The alchemists therefore
tended to divide into two camps. Those who went on searching for God, and
those who went on exploring matter. The latter we now call scientists,
and often mistakenly project a modern materialist stance on mystics such
as Kepler and Newton.

Other cultures did not look spend time trying to take apart matter, or
applying mathematics to planetary motions in search of God. They failed
to develop the materialist underpinnings of science, and the experimental
perspective on the seeking of knowledge. (None of my ancestors did either,
they were all illiterate peasants, most likely, so I do not find some sort
of reflected glory in the achievements of those with higher accomplishments.)

II) The development of Capitalism in the West is unique. We somehow take
for granted that large-scale trade must have always existed. Yet, large-scale
trade requires a number of innovations that occurred only in the West.
These include the development of banking, including money-lending for
speculation; the concept of joint ownership (originally for mills and
dams in the middle ages, later applied to ships); the development of
double-entry bookkeeping and other accounting techniques; the development
of insurance. Without these innovations, the economy remains a bazaar
economy. There is little chance to get rich, and little economic activity.
Trade is local and small scale. I understand the Roman economy to have been
of this primitive order (from Fox ``Pagans and Christians''). Without
these innovations, only the state (the king or emperor) could afford to
move large amounts of goods long distances. With them, the world moved
very rapidly to global interchange and conquest.

III) The development of Republicanism is unique. Organizing a large state
is a difficult matter. Traditionally, large states are ruled by a hierarchy
of vassals. Vastly smaller city-states had been ruled with certain forms
of direct democracy and republican councils. The idea of governing a large
state as a republic, however, had never been tried at the time of the
American Revolution. At this time, it was quite clear that a problem with
monarchies was that a lot of monarchs were men and women of mediocre talents.
Harnessing a large state to the vagaries of an individual family was clearly
faulty. It was obvious to everyone that more talented men should be put in
charge. There were two alternative models that enjoyed intellectual support
in the eighteenth century. The Republican model we know. The idea is that
talented men can derive their power through the consent of the governed through
elections. An alternative model was provided by the masons and other secret
societies. Men of talent would form organizations that would rule countries,
eliminating hereditary aristocracy. These organizations would recognize talent
and bring it into the organization. The organization would be organized
hierarchically, with a central council (a politburo) running the show.

Masonic notions of government were quite attractive at a time when no republics
existed. They grew less attractive as large scale republics developed,
and their political importance shrank. Still, the idea of the organization
controlled state persisted, as I have hinted above, until it found flower
in the Soviet Union.

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

So what about multiculturalism? The preceding is intended to advance the
notion that Western ideas proved more effective in advancing technology,
organizing trade, and organizing large states.

One cannot conclude however that all students should read Greek or Latin epic
poetry in preference to Babylonian or Sanskrit epic poetry. To so insist
distorts our distance from these ancient societies, putting us too close to
Odysseus and too far from Gilgamesh.

Cultural forms, such as harmonic music and novels, can thrive, but do so
at the expense of other forms: polyrhythmic music and extended poetry.
They represent important current cultural forms in the West, but I don't
see the danger in viewing these from a broader perspective either in time
or in geography.

Western Culture is hardly a unified whole. There is nothing wrong with
learning about an interesting selection of topics from the history and
culture of Western nations. To say that other traditions have contributed
ideas worth studying seems not to be particularly radical. The idea that
Western culture has produced a number of very dangerous conceptions, seems
equally commonplace. But perhaps I am wrong, and these notions so overwhelm
both instructor and student in these freshman survey courses, that all they
do is total up the merits and demerits or each tradition to see which
culture wins.

We ought neither demonize, canonize, nor romanticize Western or other cultures.
Most of us have contributed rather little to any of them, so we ought not
worry about reflected glory or shame. Appreciating the achievements of
other cultures should not prevent us from acknowledging the value of the
experimental method or the comfortable chair.

--Stuart Sechrest

John McCarthy

unread,
Sep 28, 1992, 5:43:54 PM9/28/92
to
Manoj Ghayalod includes:

Obviously the Western form of democracy is a better system
than the others available and India is implementing this
system, but the fact remains that no former Western powers
ever used their systems to benifit their former colonies (as
the orginal poster seems to claim). But on the contrary all
the colonies were ruthlessly exploited.

I did not wish to suggest taht Western powers were very often
motivated by benevolence, although I would suppose there is
an element of that in the 1829 suppression of sati.
Incidentally, that is 1829, and I suppose the Indian leaders
Manoj Ghayalod refers to were much later.

Motivations were mixed. Individual desire to make money,
ego and some benevolence. Even when there was benevolence,
part ot its motivation was a sense of superiority. However,
the innovations were introduced and were useful, e.g. secular
universities, railroads and a British style judicial system -
even cricket.

Brijnandan S. Dehiya

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 12:13:59 PM9/29/92
to
In article <JMC.92Se...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU> j...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU

The call for the abolishment of sati came from within the Indian society
and giant social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy were instrumental in
convincing the then Viceroy ( I think Cornwallis) to pass the law banning
sati.The British were afraid of opposition on a mass scale on anything
that would seem to interfere with the religious feelings of the Hindus.
As for the transport system's development , it was for the ease of
transporting the British army and goods for the British industries that
this was done.Name ONE university which the British started in India.All
of the Indian universities were started by Indians .
The British did not teach the Indians about the modern way of living.
The Indians LEARNED it by observing.

Brij Dehiya

Veeramany Sthanumurthy

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 11:51:37 AM9/29/92
to
[Stuff that usually appears in rot-13 format even in rec.humor,
that bastion of mainstream American and USENET humor, not
included]

Mr. Doki:

You are obviously the product of some accelerated academic program
which has led to you having an account in some university. The only
reason I can attribute to your exuberance in sticking to patently
tasteless postings on SCI, not that there is any lack of it around
here, must be the hyperactive hormones in the adolescent you either
are or insist on celebrating, for whatever misguided reasons you will
no doubt parade in response to this. I know that USENET is an anarchy
which will have to put up with the likes of you. However, there are
such outlets for your traits as, to name a few: talk.bizarre,
alt.tasteless, rec.humor, though you will probably get your sweet
body parts flamed more thoroughly than even *you* with your *ostensibly*
gutsy postings on the various SCI* groups seem inclined to stomach.

I am sure even in those newsgroups there is some sense of decorum
incommensurate with their anarchic constitutions, a sense you
certainly show an appalling lack of.

Sthan.
--
The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Campus Office for Information
Technology, or the Experimental Bulletin Board Service.
internet: bbs.oit.unc.edu or 152.2.22.80

John McCarthy

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 2:02:39 PM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep29....@ncar.ucar.edu> chu...@uars2.acd.ucar.edu (Chuck Smythe) writes:

> 7. Of course, the West has contributed its share of bad ideas
>and regrettable cultural phenomena. These include Marxism, various
>forms of racism, Fascism, the balance of nature, Heavy Metal and

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>multiculturalism.

Hmmm. Stipulating that such balance is subject to frequent local - and
occasional widespread - perturbations, would you care to defend your inclusion
of this in such a list?
o Chuck Smythe

The idea that I grumble about is that nature is in a state of delicate
balance perturbed only by thoughtless humans. The reverse it more
nearly accurate; nature lurches about, and if we want to keep ourselves
comfortable, we have to get control of it. This requires more and
more understanding of it.

Do not ride this bicycle no hands.

the_tramp

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 12:29:20 PM9/29/92
to
I couldn't agree more, hey Mr. Doki (or whatever) take the bodies of
your dead babies to your basement please.. I definitely do not want
SCI to contain topics like this...

Ramesh Panwar

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 1:38:46 AM9/29/92
to
John McCarthy wrote:

> However, for
> about 500 years, say between 1450 and 1950, almost all significant
> technological advances were made in the West.

The word "West" has been bandied around a lot and it is time that
one used precise language especially when that someone accuses
others of using "befuddled" metaphors.

Is "West" a geographic term denoting lands to the west of some meridian?
Is "West" an economic term denoting economic prosperity?
Is "West" a racial term?
Is "West" an emotive term?

The answers to these questions which any objective person will arrive
at are no, no, yes and yes. The first three answers are obvious and
I will not elaborate on them. The last answer needs some elaboration.
Most Anglo-Americans' concept of the "West" includes ancient Greece
but not modern Greece. Ancient Greece is included because of the
pre-eminence of Greece as one of the centers of ancient civilization
as compared to the barbarianism of the Anglo-Saxons. Any history book
will attest to the fact that the ancient world consisted of a civilized
core of various centers (Greece, Egypt, Sumeria, Persia, India and China)
which exerted strong influences on each other. Outside this civilized
core was a barbarian periphery which hardly had any civilized interation
with the core. The lack of any significant cultural or other interaction
between the barbarian Anglo-Saxons and the civilized Greeks should lead
us to debunk the label "Western" for ancient Greece which has been
misappropriated by the "West" in its search for historical greatness.

Likewise, the term "Western science" is an emotive term that is used
by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendents to misappropriate all the
scientific and technological achievements of humankind as their own.
It is quite non-controversial that almost all the significant
technological advances between 1450 and 1950 were made by the
"West" but that is hardly any justification for bestowing such
an exclusive label on science, denying its universailty and misusing
it for a crypto-fascist political agenda. It is quite non-controversial
that almost all of the significant technological advances until 1450
were made by the "East". But the "East" was never insecure enough to
feel the need to label its technological endeavours as "Eastern".
And today, the majority of the people engaged in scientific and
technological research are again from the "East". Science and
technology will stand poorer if one were to let the likes of McCarthy
create a divisiveness amongst the scientists and technologists by
using exclusive labels like "Western" for science.

> There is a world culture today that is mostly a
> descendant of Western culture.

This is so preposterous that I will not bother to dignify it with
any reply.


> Moreover, the superiority of Western
> culture and civilization contributed to Western political pre-eminence
> almost as much as did the superiority of Western technology.

Johnny, it is quite non-controversial to state that "Western"
political hegemony resulted from technological superiority but you
have not provided any arguments to support the claim concerning the
cultural "superiority". Moreover, "Western political pre-eminence"
(your euphemistic label for all the enslavement and genocide) may
not have been the best thing that happened to humankind though such
an idea has a very strong appeal for small-town folks who are not
terribly overburdened with intelligence (artificial or otherwise).

> Nevertheless, the Spanish victory was substantially a
> consequence of Spanish Catholicism's intellectual and moral
> superiority to Aztec religion and ideology. In the first place, it
> proclaimed universal religious and moral principles.

Johnny, your "manifest-destiny" arguments are best reserved for
the small-town folks. One wonders where you got your training from
since your rhetoric is similar to that used by the likes of
David Duke and Pat Robertson. Johnny, you are in distinguished
company. But, then you are a McCarthy ...

> An early example of generally exploitative colonialism doing
> good might be the British suppression of {\it sati} in 1829.

Johnny, that was a gallant attempt to malign and dismiss all the
accomplishments of the "East" by pointing out the atrocity of sati
and at the same time to white-wash (nay, glorify) the atrocity of
the "West" by pointing out one good that may have resulted from it.
A proponent of sati (in the days when it was acceptable) may have
used similar sophistry to press the case for sati.

> I have used rather provocative examples in this essay, and
> perhaps I should change them. Lest you think I haven't read any
> contrary opinions, let me finish by quoting the writer Susan Sontag,
> who may have changed her mind since she wrote the following. After
> all, what's an essay without a little racism.
>
> ``The white race is the cancer of history. It is the white
> race and it alone---its ideologies and inventions--- which
> eradicates autonomous civilizations whereever it spreads,
> which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which
> now threatens the very existence of life itself.''


Johnny, when you talk about "racism", speak about yourself.
Your use of such an emotionally-charged quote (which uses the
word "white race") articulates your thoughts much better than all
the words that you have used. It is obvious that "West" (atleast
to you) is synonymous with "white race". My third question in this
reply was motivated by your usage of this quote.

Johnny, if you want to stake your claim to all the scientific and
technological achievements of humankind as your own by using such
exclusive labels as "Western" for science, then why not the complement
as Susan Sontag does? Shall we label prejudice, bigotry and genocide
as "Western"?

Johnny, you must realize that all the pressures of soliciting funds
for research have gotten the better of you lately - your clownish antics
regarding the recent report "Computing the Future" being an elegant
testimony to that fact. It is time that you paid a visit to a shrink
(a real one and not an artificial one like Eliza).

--Ramesh

HARSHAVARDHAN DESHMANE

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 1:49:47 AM9/29/92
to

i guess you refuse to do arithmetic then..universities, judicial systems,
railroads and ...cricket???????????????????
cricket is a valuable western contribution to native "culture"...
I am sure you are a rational man, and your above statement sounds
just as warped to you, as it does to me.

-harsh
p.s. my curiousity forces me to ask, without protesting, why you
decided to have this debate on sci and soc.history {\it only} ??

--
_______________________________________________________________________________
Harshavardhan Deshmane, ECE Dept. hde...@croc.ece.ncsu.edu
North Carolina State University. hde...@csl36h.csl.ncsu.edu

Sivaram Hariharan

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 1:29:33 PM9/29/92
to
Absolutely Sick and totally tasteless. I hope the persons who
started these jokes on babies think about their own babies
or baby siblings or their neices or nephews.

Totally Disgusted
Sivaram

NIKHIL TIKEKAR, XT/DE, 4205

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 12:19:54 PM9/29/92
to

Mr.McCarthy writes:

>I have already learned a bit from the discussion, but I still
>don't see how to rewrite my article in such a way as to avoid
>misunderstanding.

A few hints:

* Define (unambiguously) terms such as: `western', `culture' and `superior
(Was `greek culture' made part of `western culture' with the benefit of
hindsight ?)
* (Technology, Economy) /= (Culture)
* The topic chosen relies on a subjective value system
* When you communicate through a value system (meta-level),about values in
general, arguements could get circular ( Which value system/culture should
I chose as superior, if my notions of inferior and superior are part of my
current value system ?)
* Using a framework of objective, rational discussion for a subjective
conclusion merely creates `illusion of being rational'
* Though human beings make conscious decisions about their
destiny,shaping of a culture is determined (in large part) by complex
historical forces (circumstances/environment as a function of time
being one of them....historical context)
* Statements such as:


> 4. Analytic philosophy. All other important philosophies
>reached dead ends in which they are still stuck.

do not lead to meanigful discussions (hope, that was the intention),
but reflect `dogma'/ignorance.
* Technology -> conveniences/ability to manipulate certain phenomenon
-> life style /= `superior'
* Irrespective of the source, preserving `good' attitudes/social behaviour
that help (create) an environment `YOU LIKE', is a subjective judgement
* Communism, heavy metal etc. are not (inherently) `bad' ideas
* `Pre- industrial' societies were (technologically, economically) similar
(using `todays standards') - `West' was the seat of industrial revolution
- Its a 200-300 year old phenomenon - which is quite recent on historical
time scales -> That does not qualify it for the title `superior'
(unless you believe an inherently superior culture (a dynamic concept) was
waiting for critical mass :-))
* There is no known absolute `criterion' (hence the concept GOD)
* History was written by human beings (usually the `winners'). It includes
their biases. If you are unable to verify a presidential candidates claim
(your own life time), its dangerous to use specifics from a much more
complex `past'(history) to support your arguements.
* Human values, emotions, ideas, languages, cultures, and minds are too
complex (compared to say, computers and logic) to be analysed (and reach
a conclusion) in a few essays.
* Can add more

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"What, mind is an algorithm ? I am sure you did not take mine into account".
- me.

Ericsson is not responsible for my opinions

exu...@exu.ericsson.se
214- 997 - 4205

John McCarthy

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 8:42:16 AM9/29/92
to
I think I can agree with all that Brijnandan S. Dehiya posts. I didn't
know that the British ban on sati was instigated by Indian reformers.
I didn't even realize there were Indian reformers so early.

Let me return to the original questions.

1. Is there a world culture today?

2. Is it substantially based on European culture? The non-European
influences on European culture are secondary to this question.
Benevolence or greed or lack thereof also have nothing to do with it.

3. Assuming there is pretty much of a world culture, what are the
exceptions to its prevalence in various countries, e.g. India, that
seem destined to survive?

The reason for raising these questions is the American debate about
basing required college courses on "western civilization".

Ravikumar Dikkala

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 1:23:27 PM9/29/92
to
sd...@maxine.wpi.edu (Suresh Doki) writes:
: ......
: ......

Sick post

-Dikkala

Sanjiva Prasad

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 6:23:27 AM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep28.1...@cs.wayne.edu> u...@wsu-eng.eng.wayne.edu (Seetamraju Udaybhaskar) writes:
>
>Did you know all the soldiers in british uniforms were indians.
>Only the officers were actual whites. (Not even hybrids-angloindians)...
>The only time indians saw actual british foot soldiers were
>near the WW II time....
>

Oh, I didn't think that the Indian-born "Rudi-Baba" Kipling would play
so fast and loose with the facts about the racial composition of the troops
in "Soldiers Three". Or are you more inclusive in your use of "Indian" than
even the most liberal interpretation one normally sees?

--
Sanjiva Prasad, Guest Magician E-mail: san...@ecrc.de
European Computer Industry Research Centre Off: +49 89 92 69 91 58
Arabellastrasse 17 Fax: +49 89 92 69 91 70
8000 Muenchen 81, Germany Res: +49 89 16 33 59

Rangarathnam Gopu

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 5:00:37 PM9/29/92
to
>I think I can agree with all that Brijnandan S. Dehiya posts. I didn't
>know that the British ban on sati was instigated by Indian reformers.
>I didn't even realize there were Indian reformers so early.
>
18th century is early???? Hey we are talking Indian history here. :-)

>Let me return to the original questions.
>
>1. Is there a world culture today?
>

Dont think so, far too much diversity. There are IMHO certain
aspects of culture that are global - to a great degree at least.
Among these would be Hollywood and Bollywood movies, Coke,
clashes between tradition and liberalism / modernity, the
mix of religion and politics, and interest in certain major
sports and a growing awareness of the environment's importance.

>2. Is it substantially based on European culture? The non-European

I doubt that there is something that can be called European
culture that could distinguish itself from say, Latin American
and North American culture (no comments on their diversity).

>influences on European culture are secondary to this question.
>Benevolence or greed or lack thereof also have nothing to do with it.
>
>3. Assuming there is pretty much of a world culture, what are the
>exceptions to its prevalence in various countries, e.g. India, that
>seem destined to survive?
>

India should be viewed more as a threat to other cultures than
as a possible victim, IMHO. Till the 16th century at least, the
impact of Indian culture was tremendous in most of Asia. Today,
India is feeling the impact of a Westernized elite and
extreme urbanization, but still there is so much to "Indian
culture" and it is still so prevalent, that I doubt very much any
major damage in the near or long term future.

One thing must be noted. Culture is pretty dynamic. It keeps
evolving, borrowing and adapting all the time. Closed minds
can harm a culture more than any external influences, which actually
just add a few more facets to what's already there. Regionalism
and xenophobia are more to be feared than globalization.

>The reason for raising these questions is the American debate about
>basing required college courses on "western civilization".

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
beautiful oxymoron. ;-)


>--
>John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305

>He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.
>

Gopu
--
rg...@cs.tamu.edu ParukkuLE nalla naadu
Texas A&M University EngaL Baaratha naadu

John McCarthy

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 11:32:07 AM9/29/92
to
Rangarathnam Gopu is the first to address the questions I thought
were raised by my original article. I don't quite agree with
his answers, but I haven't yet figured out how the question might
be objectively decided.

--
John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
*

Veeramany Sthanumurthy

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 12:06:07 PM9/29/92
to
[Not having sufficient time is not the only reason for this
insubstantial response to the original article, which has not
been included in this follow-up.]

Prof. McCarthy I am sure abhors knee-jerk tendencies which
are the hallmarks of liberals. My first impression on reading
the article was question the why of it. A number of answers
are attempted in the article itself. One of them, it seemed
to me, was as a reaction to the multiculturalism of the liberals(?).
At the very least, this seems too charitable to what the article
attempts.

The article, IMO, shows the inherent pitfalls in attempting an
objective analysis of conditions which necessarily involve and
are clouded by perceptions which are by no means beyond either
culture or values, and yet, if are to believe the point-by-point
enumeration in the article, this is self-evident. Secondly, the
article seems to indicate an inordinate sense of urgency on the
part of the author to summarize the past and telescope the future
in the palm of his hand, as it were.

[My apologies again for the brief nature of this response.]

Nath S. Gopalaswamy

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 11:34:31 AM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep29....@cs.ucla.edu> pan...@killer.cs.ucla.edu (Ramesh Panwar) writes:
>John McCarthy wrote:
>
>> However, for
>> about 500 years, say between 1450 and 1950, almost all significant
>> technological advances were made in the West.
>> There is a world culture today that is mostly a
>> descendant of Western culture.
>> Moreover, the superiority of Western
>> culture and civilization contributed to Western political pre-eminence
>> almost as much as did the superiority of Western technology.
>> Nevertheless, the Spanish victory was substantially a
>> consequence of Spanish Catholicism's intellectual and moral
>> superiority to Aztec religion and ideology. In the first place, it
>> proclaimed universal religious and moral principles.
>> An early example of generally exploitative colonialism doing
>> good might be the British suppression of {\it sati} in 1829.

I AGREE WITH EVERYTING WITH HIS IGHNESS Mr. JOHN SAYING. HEATHENS ALL OVER
THE WORLD NEVER TO BE GRATEFULL FOR MOST KIND AND RESPECTFULL LOVE OF WESTERN
WORLD (MAY GOD EVER BLES WEST) WHO TALKING AND QUESTIONING THE MOST EXCELLENT
CULTURE OF WEST ( MAY GOD'S FURRY BE ON TRAITOR PAGINS) ? WAS CHINESE CULTURE
PUT MAN ON MOON OR WAS INDAN YOGA MAKE CARDEIAC SURGERY? EASTEN PEOPLE NOW
TALK BUT TRAVEL IN WASTERN PLAINES, WALK ON WATER IF NOT LIKE WESTERN PLANE.

NOW DO NOT AZTEC HAV CAR AND MTV? SO SOME PEOPLE GOT DIED, BUT EVERY CHANGE
NEEDING SACRIFICE, WHO CAN NOW LIVE WITHOUT MICROWAVE AND DISHWASHER? OR STILL
WANT TO USE SUNDIAL AND SMOKE CLOUD TO TALK TO MAMMY AND PAPPY THREE MOUNTAIN
AWAY? SO SOME AIDS THINGIE CAME BUT NOW ALL NOT KNOW HOW MUCH VIRUS STUDIES
BEING DONE. BY EXPORTING THE AIDS THINGIE TO MOON SEEING CHINA AND WATER ON
WALKING INDIA WEST GIVING THEM CHANCE TO DEVELOP VIRUS PROGRAM BY THEMSELF,
THANKLESS PEOPLE. I DESPAIRING WHEN THE PALEONTOLOGICAL ASIANS COME TO SENSES
AND THROW THIER HOPELESS SOULS BEFORE WEST, FOR WEST NOT WAIT ANY LONGER TO
FORGIVE, AND IF INDIA AND CHINA GO FOR FORGIVE NOW WEST GIVE 20 PERCENT OFF
EVERY CULTURE LESSONS.

YOURS FIEND,

NATTH,

PS I NOT KNOW TO USE SPEL CHEK ON THIS UNICS SCREEN, SO PLEASE EXCUSE IF I
MISTAKE COME EVERYWERE. LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING GOOD VIEWS. PIECE TO AL.

Raj Bhatnagar

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 7:48:45 PM9/29/92
to

>Let me return to the original questions.
>
>1. Is there a world culture today?
>

The word "culture" represents a very fuzzy concept. On one extreme
the culture of my neighbourhood differs from that of the next
neighbourhood, and that of me and my friends differs from that of
my brother and his friends. On the other extreme, an alien from
outer sapce will undoubtedly describe the human race and its culture
by some of the common values shared by the whole humanity.

However, talking about the major identifiable cultural streams in
today's humanity, one can easily see a multitude of different
cultures co-existing simultaneously.

At this level, I don't think there is *a* world culture in today's
world. There are a billion Chinese, a fifth of humanity, who couldn't
care less about the value system of the Western culture. Same goes for
a lot of Indians, a lot of Japanese, a lot of Malayasians, and of course
there are the Iranians and the other Anti-Western Mullah types all over the
World.

Throughout the history there have been interactions and exchanges
among cultures and all cultures have learnt much from each other.
Also true is the fact that other cultures have tried to ape those
cultures that were more prosperous and stronger than themselves.
This, obviously, is driven by the desire to acquire prosperity.
Yes, the same urge that is driving the Russians to learn The American
way and the Americans to learn the Japanese management techniques.

With the advanced means of communications the exchanges among
cultures have also become more extensive and more frequent.

Looking at the question from a historical perspective one can see
that there was a "dominant" culture in each era. It always was that culture
which either Militarily or economically established its reign over much
of its neighbourhood nations. The conquests and/or empires in the name
of, Aryan Civilization, Romans, Christianity, Islam, etc. have had their
peaks. The culture which acquires some "New" insight, be it the Vedic
knowledge, the greco-roman military/philosophical mights, the message of
Christ, the revelation obtained by Muhammad, the knowledge gained by
Buddha, or the Industrial-Scientific revolution achieved by the West,
make that culture the dominant one in that era. but do the cultures get
assimilated and die away? I don't think so. Do the distinctions between
cultures fade? I don't think so. All that happens is that we don't hear
about the non-dominant cultures because they are at the receiving end in
this era but are not going to be completely transformed.

>2. Is it substantially based on European culture?

European culture certainly is the most advanced and prosperous
culture in today's world. It is dominant today and the world is
learning its ways to equal its prosperity and power. But no,
there is something sacred about cultural identities which forces
people to keep preserving their cultural identities. And few
decades/centuries later the Japanese cultural traits may become
dominant all over the world because of their economic power and
the consequent military and other strengths which may result in
the years to come. Already, the number of Americans/Europeans/Indians
learning Japanese today is orders higher than 25 years ago.


>3. Assuming there is pretty much of a world culture, what are the
>exceptions to its prevalence in various countries, e.g. India, that
>seem destined to survive?
>

The getting closer and smaller of the world may have increased the
interactions among cultures but it doesn't seem that we will have
a movement towards a World culture. Europe and Arabia have been next to
each other and have had extensive exchanges over the eons, but to keep
their cultures separate seems to be an objective being pursued by both
the sides. "I am different from you and therefore better" is a basic
human feeling that will keep resulting in more mutations whenever more
exchanges take place among cultures. Despite the high-tech exchanges, the
Japanese cars will always be different from the American cars even if
the concept of cars and that of difference among them was non-existent
150 years ago.

>The reason for raising these questions is the American debate about
>basing required college courses on "western civilization".

Since America has accepted a large number of immigrants from all cultures
in the recent past few decades, courses that consider the American
culture as one that is absorbing various cultural streams into a
western civilizational substrate and the nature of the resulting
mutant would be the most relevant and interesting from the perspective
of next few generations.

*I mentioned in the above paragraph the American culture and not
the Western culture as in the rest of the discussion*

>--
>John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
>*
>He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.
>

---raj


soren--Ms. Jackson if you're nasty

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 9:17:55 PM9/29/92
to

> 7. Of course, the West has contributed its share of bad ideas
>and regrettable cultural phenomena. These include Marxism, various
>forms of racism, Fascism, the balance of nature, Heavy Metal and

>multiculturalism.

Chuck Smythe, I see, has just beat me to it, but I too am interested
in hearing Prof. McCarthy explain just what makes the concept of the
balance of nature such a bad idea.

As I understand it, the basic idea (roughly, that disturbing predator/
prey relationships can have potentially catastrophic effects on the
environment) is completely noncontroversial and completely accepted
by working biologists. (If any biologists are reading this, I'd
welcome comments and corrections)

I recognize that the concept is sometimes misused for political
reasons, and I also recognize that Prof. McCarthy almost certainly
feels profound antipathy for many of the people who espouse it.
That does not, however, make the concept "bad."


> The multiculturalism idea, that all cultural traditions are
>equally valuable is today being overcome at great cost in the former
>colonial countries. Arbitrarily trying to invent alternatives to
>democracy and capitalism are just as unlikely to succeed as trying to
>invent alternatives to the airplane.

I don't think anyone in the third world is claiming that "all cultural
traditions are equally valuable". I see a lot of people claiming
that their OWN traditions are superior to Western traditions (a perfectly
understandable reaction in many cases), or that one particular western
tradition is superior to another.

--
"From your signature it is obvious that you are a homosexual"
soren f petersen : i AM NOT : --Doc
spet...@peruvian.utah.edu : THE university OF utah :
"How could I dance with another/When I saw him standing there" --Tiffany

Seetamraju Udaybhaskar

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 1:34:45 PM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep29.1...@ecrc.de> san...@ecrc.de (Sanjiva Prasad) writes:
>In article <1992Sep28.1...@cs.wayne.edu> u...@wsu-eng.eng.wayne.edu (Seetamraju Udaybhaskar) writes:
>>Did you know all the soldiers in british uniforms were indians.
>>Only the officers were actual whites. (Not even hybrids-angloindians)...
>>The only time indians saw actual british foot soldiers were
>>near the WW II time....
>Oh, I didn't think that the Indian-born "Rudi-Baba" Kipling would play
>so fast and loose with the facts about the racial composition of the troops
>in "Soldiers Three". Or are you more inclusive in your use of "Indian" than
>even the most liberal interpretation one normally sees?

>Sanjiva Prasad, Guest Magician E-mail: san...@ecrc.de


I do not know what Soldiers Three is. But tell
me what in my previous post was ``stretching facts''. Once, the portugese
and the french were driven out of the subcontinent, almost every foot soldier
of british (not just non-subcontinent originm but pure british origin) were
either made `officers' or returned to britain. Ever since, (i.e., after the
end of `trade-forts'-period), all `ordinary-soldiers' were sub-continenters...

Rangarathnam Gopu

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 9:24:35 PM9/29/92
to
>I think I can agree with all that Brijnandan S. Dehiya posts. I didn't
>know that the British ban on sati was instigated by Indian reformers.
>I didn't even realize there were Indian reformers so early.
>
18th century is early???? Hey we are talking Indian history here. :-)

>Let me return to the original questions.


>
>1. Is there a world culture today?
>

Dont think so, far too much diversity. There are IMHO certain
aspects of culture that are global - to a great degree at least.
Among these would be Hollywood and Bollywood movies, Coke,
clashes between tradition and liberalism / modernity, the
mix of religion and politics, and interest in certain major
sports and a growing awareness of the environment's importance.

>2. Is it substantially based on European culture? The non-European

I doubt that there is something that can be called European
culture that could distinguish itself from say, Latin American
and North American culture (no comments on their diversity).

>influences on European culture are secondary to this question.
>Benevolence or greed or lack thereof also have nothing to do with it.
>

>3. Assuming there is pretty much of a world culture, what are the
>exceptions to its prevalence in various countries, e.g. India, that
>seem destined to survive?
>

India should be viewed more as a threat to other cultures than
as a possible victim, IMHO. Till the 16th century at least, the
impact of Indian culture was tremendous in most of Asia. Today,
India is feeling the impact of a Westernized elite and
extreme urbanization, but still there is so much to "Indian
culture" and it is still so prevalent, that I doubt very much any
major damage in the near or long term future.

One thing must be noted. Culture is pretty dynamic. It keeps
evolving, borrowing and adapting all the time. Closed minds
can harm a culture more than any external influences, which actually
just add a few more facets to what's already there. Regionalism
and xenophobia are more to be feared than globalization.

>The reason for raising these questions is the American debate about


>basing required college courses on "western civilization".

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
beautiful oxymoron. ;-)


>John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305

Gopu

Message has been deleted

Yesudas, Michael

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 5:23:00 PM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep29.1...@news.acns.nwu.edu>, bs...@speedy.acns.nwu.edu (Brijnandan S. Dehiya) writes...

There was no Viceroy in 1829. The term Viceroy itself came into being after
1857.

>sati.The British were afraid of opposition on a mass scale on anything
>that would seem to interfere with the religious feelings of the Hindus.
>As for the transport system's development , it was for the ease of
>transporting the British army and goods for the British industries that
>this was done.Name ONE university which the British started in India.All
>of the Indian universities were started by Indians .
>The British did not teach the Indians about the modern way of living.
>The Indians LEARNED it by observing.
>
>Brij Dehiya

------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Michael Yesudas | The control of the means of production |
| Mechanical Engineering | of wealth is the absolute control of |
| University of Houston | human life itself |
| mec...@jetson.uh.edu | -- Hilaire Belloc |
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yesudas, Michael

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 6:00:00 PM9/29/92
to
In article <JMC.92Se...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU>, j...@cs.Stanford.EDU writes...

>I think I can agree with all that Brijnandan S. Dehiya posts. I didn't
>know that the British ban on sati was instigated by Indian reformers.
>I didn't even realize there were Indian reformers so early.
>
>Let me return to the original questions.
>
>1. Is there a world culture today?

Yes and No. True, the influence of European culture is there in many countries
compared to the non-European ones. But many of the ancient cultures still
maintain their own identity. And many customs in these will be completely new
to ones who have been exposed only to European culture.

>
>2. Is it substantially based on European culture? The non-European
>influences on European culture are secondary to this question.
>Benevolence or greed or lack thereof also have nothing to do with it.

On European ideas, or I should say ideas which originated in Europe.
Be it the style of dressing or kind of farming or kind of transport
or form of government. Europe generated such a momentum that the ideas
like free market, communism, socialism or even benevolent capitalism(?)
democracy and liberty survived. Also the Europeans stuck to those ideas
wherever they went, Americas, Australia...
But it is worthwhile to note that there are nations which used the
European ideas, progressed and prospered but maintained their cultural
identity. Japan for e.g.

>
>3. Assuming there is pretty much of a world culture, what are the
>exceptions to its prevalence in various countries, e.g. India, that
>seem destined to survive?

You can see a lot of influence of European culture on Indian urban life,
And to lesser degree in the rural areas. So I am not sure whether the
same ancient culture that will survive in future or that a cross-breed
of Indian and European culture that will become dominant.

>
>The reason for raising these questions is the American debate about
>basing required college courses on "western civilization".
>--
>John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
>*
>He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.
>

Deepak Narain

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 10:28:59 PM9/29/92
to
From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala):


Sick flame

--
deepak

Manoj Ghayalod

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 9:36:00 PM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep29.1...@news.acns.nwu.edu> bs...@speedy.acns.nwu.edu (Brijnandan S. Dehiya) writes:
>In article <JMC.92Se...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU> j...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
>(John McCarthy) writes:
>> part ot its motivation was a sense of superiority. However,
>> the innovations were introduced and were useful, e.g. secular
>> universities, railroads and a British style judicial system -
>> even cricket.
>>
>and giant social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy were instrumental in
>convincing the then Viceroy ( I think Cornwallis) to pass the law banning
>sati.The British were afraid of opposition on a mass scale on anything
>that would seem to interfere with the religious feelings of the Hindus.
>As for the transport system's development , it was for the ease of
>transporting the British army and goods for the British industries that
>this was done.Name ONE university which the British started in India.All
>of the Indian universities were started by Indians .
>The British did not teach the Indians about the modern way of living.
>The Indians LEARNED it by observing.
>
>Brij Dehiya

I would also like to add that Indians paid taxes which was used
to build the railroad system, Indians had to buy tickets to use
the trains and the Britishers used to get preference over Indians
in seating arrangements. My point is that the British did no favors
on India by introducing the Rail system. The British judical system
says that a person is guilty till proven innocent (I may be wrong),
the Indian system says the opposite. Any way we had judical systems
before the British came to India. Cricket, the British seem to be
the only ones who never won the Cricket world cup.

Manoj

Steve Cutchin

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 3:40:36 PM9/29/92
to

In article <JMC.92Se...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU>, j...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU (John McCarthy) writes:
|>
|> Motivations were mixed. Individual desire to make money,
|> ego and some benevolence. Even when there was benevolence,
|> part ot its motivation was a sense of superiority. However,
|> the innovations were introduced and were useful, e.g. secular
|> universities, railroads and a British style judicial system -
|> even cricket.
|>
While it is probably accurate to say that many new and beneficial
culture concepts were introduced by the conquering of India by
the British this in NO WAY mitigates that it was the western cultures
view of Indians as inferior, backward and heretical that allowed them
to justify in their minds the slaughter of millions of indians in
their conquest of India. Mr McCarthy's EXTREMELY selective view of
western cultures interaction with eastern is both abysmally poor in
its simple minded arguments and narrow viewpoint. It is extremely easy
to extoll the benefits of Western culture and ignore its more destructive
tendencies as abberations. Let me make a list of some of the more
negative creations of Western Culture:

1. Nuclear Warfare.
2. Capitalism (yes Mr McCarthy this has negative aspects).
3. World Wars I and II.
4. The Crusades.
5. The Catholic Church.
6. The Holocaust.
7. Mili Vanilli. :-)

These cultural aspects of Western culture are just as much an inherent
aspect of it as the more 'beneficial' kinds that Mr McCarthy lists.
So I would say that western culture while succesfully exploiting and
destroying large segments of the global population is in no way superior
to any other culture. Unless one defines superior to be 'doing whatever
the hell I want'.

I do not even consider the myriad of arguments that what McCarthy extolls
as 'benefits' are considered by many as not being benefits. Particularly
the idea of societal 'progress' is often pushed for by the west yet why
should one want ones society to 'progress'. Is it really a benefit? I
am calling into question here Mr McCarthy's belief that organization,
rule of law, written constitutions are beneficial things. Is 'progress'
itself a benefit? I think you will find many in the west and east who
have lived near polluted areas who will argue that 'progress' is not
such a universally wonderfull thing.

To close, I would just like to state that it is very dishearting to see
an obviously well educated man put forth such poorly considered narrowly
construed drivel.

|> --
|> John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
|> *
|> He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

Obviously the speaking of arithmetic is not a necessary condition
for not talking nonsense.

----
Steve Cutchin
cut...@cs.purdue.edu

yogesh angrish

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 11:17:08 PM9/29/92
to


sick Newsgroup

Surya N Kavuri

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 2:51:58 PM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep29.0...@zip.eecs.umich.edu>, sech...@dip.eecs.umich.edu (Stuart Sechrest) writes:
>
> I) The development of Science in the West is unique. A variety of cultures
.....
>
> Other cultures did not look spend time trying to take apart matter, or
> applying mathematics to planetary motions in search of God. They failed
> to develop the materialist underpinnings of science, and the experimental
> perspective on the seeking of knowledge. (None of my ancestors did either,
> they were all illiterate peasants, most likely, so I do not find some sort
> of reflected glory in the achievements of those with higher accomplishments.)
>


Excerpts from "History of Science by Stephen F. Mason"

* Varahamihira (505 AD) had an astronomical observatory in Ujjain, India.
Others in Astronomy from India are:
Brahmaputra (628 AD)
Mahavira (850 AD) at Mysore, India
Bhaskara (1114-1185 AD).
Aryabhatas (475-550 AD) patna, India


In his work Siddhantas, Varahamihira gave accounts of his work on
Astronomy.

India followed an algebraic tradition as opposed to the geometric tradition
of the Greeks.

* Aryabhattas studies summation of arithmetic series and attempted solution
of quadratic and linear indeterminate equations.

*They also introduced the use of sines and cosines, instead of the length of
chords used by Greeks, thus starting the subject of trigonometry.

* Mahavira discussed the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication
and division. He also introduced the use of zero.

* Bhaskara introduced the concept of infinity and established that any number
divided by sero is infinity.

Medicine and Chemisrty in India
------------------------------

The oldest medical work is the Bower manuscript, which dates about 400 BC

* 200 AD. Charakahad written a medical compendium listing drugs and the
lore of their use.

* 600 AD, Susruta was a treatise on surgery. It describes 121 different
surgical instruments, and gives an account of most of the surgical
operations known before modern times. The connection between malaria and
mosquitoes was studied.


The mos t important contribution is the modern numeral system and the
development of general algebraic operations.

> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> --Stuart Sechrest

Read up a little before ...

Surya Kavuri

Nath S. Gopalaswamy

unread,
Sep 30, 1992, 12:27:19 AM9/30/92
to
In article <JMC.92Se...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU>, j...@SAIL.Stanford.EDU (John McCarthy) writes:
|> I think I can agree with all that Brijnandan S. Dehiya posts. I didn't
|> know that the British ban on sati was instigated by Indian reformers.
|> I didn't even realize there were Indian reformers so early.

WHO THIS BRIJNAND MAN? NO INDIAN REFORMERS WERE LIVED ANY TIME IN HEATHEN
INDIA. PAGIN TRAITIR LIKE BRIJ CONFUSING ISSUE. ACTUALLY THE SATI WOMEN
WITCHES, IN INDIA PROBABLY FIREWOOD VERY LESS, SO UNLIKE IN THE MOST EXCELLENT
WASTERN CULTOUR WITCH NOT BURNED ALONE BUT BURNED WITH SOME MAN MADE HUSBAND.
WITCH DESERVE NO MERCY, FROM ANYONE. MY MOST HUMBLE APOLOGIES FOR IGNORANCE
BUT IN WEST LOTS OF FIREWOOD, SO EVERY MONTH MASS WITCH BURNING MONTH TILL
ALL WITCHES BURNT OUT FROM WEST. SOME WITCH ESCAPE TO INDIA, BUT AHAAAA PAGINS
GIVE THEM SHELTER. DAMN PAGINS!@#@!

NATH,

PIECE TO AL.

Ravikumar Dikkala

unread,
Sep 30, 1992, 1:31:57 AM9/30/92
to
d...@juniper.WPI.EDU (Deepak Narain) writes:
: From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala):

And a Sick Flame

-Dikkala

Bill Hyde

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 11:36:17 AM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep28.1...@cs.wayne.edu>, u...@wsu-eng.eng.wayne.edu (Seetamraju Udaybhaskar) writes:
|> In article <1992Sep28....@ecst.csuchico.edu> vi...@ecst.csuchico.edu (Vivek R. Prabhu) writes:

|> >
|> >The British in reality were not even saviours of the Indian widows. There
|> >are many examples of the British soldiers having raped widows after having
|> >so-calledly rescuing them from the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.


|>
|> Did you know all the soldiers in british uniforms were indians.
|> Only the officers were actual whites. (Not even hybrids-angloindians)...
|> The only time indians saw actual british foot soldiers were
|> near the WW II time....


Well, not quite all. In the best equipped indian divisions
one battalion in three and all the artillery were british.
Obviously this formula could not apply to much of the indian
army (2.5 million in WWII). I speculate that this
pattern became the standard to aim at after the mutiny.

If anyone has more precise information I would be interested
in seeing it.


Bill Hyde
Department of Oceanography
Dalhousie University,
Halifax, Nova Scotia
hy...@Ice.ATM.Dal.Ca or hyde@dalac

Akash R. Deshpande

unread,
Sep 30, 1992, 1:32:04 AM9/30/92
to

As has been previously pointed out, the original article by John McCarthy was
a bit subjective to discuss without bandying opinions. I propose the following
aspects to objectify "superiority" of cultures: survival, stability, humanness
and aspiration.

Clearly, eastern (such as it is) culture has survived. Speaking from personal
knowledge, Indian culture has certainly survived. It has brought forth not only
rich classical cultures but also has effloresced into thriving contemporary
cultures expressed through approximately 25 widely spoken languages,
concomittant literature, idiom, theatre, films, cuisine and several arts,
all woven into the fabric of a common Indian spirituality and world-view. More
surprisingly, ancient Indians who forged the Indian archetype created such a
dynamic and resilient culture that it withstood extremely hostile attacks
intermittently for 2500 years (remember Alexander), and continuously for 1000
years embodied in Moghul and European occupation. It could also assimilate
internal perturbations such as Buddhism and Jainism. For survival a culture
adapts to other cultures it interacts with, which reveals its dynamism. Thus,
surely we shall see reflections of western (such as it is) cultures in eastern
ones.
Western culture is relatively young and dynamic, and hence hopefully
agile, and shall adapt too to eastern cultures which seem certain to survive.

At present, western culture does not seem to be sustainably stable. This is due
to its model of growth which relies on relatively unfettered individual freedom
and predominantly two uses of technology: imperialism and consumerism.
Imperialism relies on maintaining artificial differentials in availability
of markets and suppliers to the advantage of a given imperialist, through
the use of superior military technology. Consumerism relies on universalisation
of technological advances by which tools and conveniences are brought to each
individual. Though consumerism at home and imperialism abroad is a good
formula, we are also seeing both, imperialism and consumerism, abroad in the
Japanese strategy. But more and more, imperialism cannot succeed against
largely self-sufficient systems of China and India. Further, consumerism
inherently reduces the differentials that imperialism exploits. Given
the powerful universalising capability of technology, we shall increasingly see
a level playing field. Since there are no more Americas to discover, we have to
keep making difficult choices in resource allocations. Hence, we shall more
and more see unbridled individualism failing as a sustainable culture.
Sharing, interdependence, give-and-take shall become important features of
a stable culture. In fact, one often equates these qualities with culture.
On the other hand, eastern cultures have had a long training on the
frontier of their capabilities. In their youth approximately 3000-5000 years
ago, they expanded into virgin territories full of youth, conquest and glory.
However, for more than 2000 years they have been on a relatively constant
frontier, honing their culture through difficult choices in interdependence
and sharing. Now, acquiring newer technology and expanding into an expanding
frontier, they have a relatively sure compass and instinct for sustainability.

Humanness, I must admit, I find absent in western culture as it is (at least
in the US). To industry, a person is a unit of labour, a more or less
recalcitrant factor of production; to the political machinery, a person
is a vote; to the economic machinery, a person is a consumer, to the social
machinery, a person is a social unit to be listed in statistics and
reluctantly to be cared for when down. Why, I ask you, don't you feel like a
cow, its straw fed, udders milked, occassionally scrubbed or petted, and
of course, under capitalism free to roam the meadow? In communism you may
not so roam.
Of course, there are spots of brightness when you come in contact with
real persons, humans. But on the whole, I say that this is despite the
system and not in it.
On the other hand, one could fault the eastern cultures for too much
humanness, to the extent of being inefficient. And this inefficiency directly
affects its ability to survive against western culture.

Aspiration of a culture characterises its higher goal, its very reason for
existence. Efficiency seems to be one aspiration of the western culture -
and this has certainly upped the ante for sheer survival. But this cannot be
a goal in itself. Efficiency in what? It only seems to be a means. Arts
and the general pleasure of life seems to be another goal. And this indeed
has been a redeeming feature of western culture, imparting it some humanness.
But again, narcissist hedonism doesn't seem to be a satisfying motive for
civilisation. Philosophy and intellectual sophistry could be the leading
principle of culture. But it is too dry for the mass of humanity and provides
no sustaining motive. Religion, too, has been a strong quest of all human
cultures. But in the west it is said that the overt influence of religion on
life has diminished. To sum up, the west presents satisfaction of vital
desires through efficient material means assisted by a keen intellect as
the goal of civilisation and culture.
All these are innate human tendencies. However, in the east more
than these the spiritual quest has been recognised as the imperative and
overarching motive of existence. Most, it is said, follow the leisurely
pace of normal life - through its vicissititudes, yearnings, satisfactions
and play, and some at an accelerated pace, so to speak through yoga.
These latter have been hailed by these cultures as seers who could found
and propagate civilisation. They were not reclusive hermits but dominant
teachers and guides - directing kings and their affairs and wars, building,
organising and propagating knowledge, imparting supreme vision and wisdom,
and setting the keel of civilisation's vessel, charting its
course and unfurling its sails to be filled by the breath of the lord.
Certainly, in India the quest was of union with the divine, here on
earth, and if not here then in other domains. In completely unambiguous
words immortality was laid out as the goal for man - attested by any Upanishad.
In measure as the `here on earth' was ignored by its culture, India lapsed and
was susceptible to external attacks and now needs to assimilate respect
for matter. But in its aspiration it is supreme, unmatched by any western
culture.

Such is the content of my response to the speculations of John McCarthy.


Deepak Narain

unread,
Sep 30, 1992, 2:26:29 AM9/30/92
to
From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala)>

Hey Dix, looks like you're taking recursion a little too
seriously.

--
deepak

Ravikumar Dikkala

unread,
Sep 30, 1992, 2:33:38 AM9/30/92
to
d...@juniper.WPI.EDU (Deepak Narain) writes:
: From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala)>
: >d...@juniper.WPI.EDU (Deepak Narain) writes>

: >>From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala)>
: >>>sd...@maxine.wpi.edu (Suresh Doki) writes>
: >>>> ......
: >>>> ......
: >>>
: >>> Sick post
: >>>
: >>> -Dikkala
: >>
: >>
: >> Sick flame
: >>
: >> --
: >> deepak
: >
: > And a Sick Flame
: >
: > -Dikkala
:
: Hey Dix, looks like you're taking recursion a little too
: seriously.
:
: --
: deepak

Hey my stack is almost overflowing with "sickness"...

-Dikkala

Deepak Narain

unread,
Sep 30, 1992, 2:35:26 AM9/30/92
to

Too much pushing, too little popping, I guess.

--
deepak

Chuck Smythe

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Sep 29, 1992, 7:22:37 PM9/29/92
to

> 7. Of course, the West has contributed its share of bad ideas
>and regrettable cultural phenomena. These include Marxism, various
>forms of racism, Fascism, the balance of nature, Heavy Metal and

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>multiculturalism.

Hmmm. Stipulating that such balance is subject to frequent local - and
occasional widespread - perturbations, would you care to defend your inclusion
of this in such a list?
o Chuck Smythe

Ravikumar Dikkala

unread,
Sep 30, 1992, 4:22:42 AM9/30/92
to
d...@maxine.wpi.edu (Deepak Narain) writes:
: From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala):
: >d...@juniper.WPI.EDU (Deepak Narain) writes:
: >: From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala)>
: >: >d...@juniper.WPI.EDU (Deepak Narain) writes>

: >: >>From dik...@maxine.wpi.edu (Ravikumar Dikkala)>
: >: >>>sd...@maxine.wpi.edu (Suresh Doki) writes>
: >: >>>> ......
: >: >>>> ......
: >: >>>
: >: >>> Sick post
: >: >>>
: >: >>> -Dikkala
: >: >>
: >: >>
: >: >> Sick flame
: >: >>
: >: >> --
: >: >> deepak
: >: >
: >: > And a Sick Flame
: >: >
: >: > -Dikkala
: >:
: >: Hey Dix, looks like you're taking recursion a little too
: >: seriously.
: >:
: >: --
: >: deepak
: >
: > Hey my stack is almost overflowing with "sickness"...
: >
: > -Dikkala
:
: Too much pushing, too little popping, I guess.
:
: --
: deepak

Popping, hehehehehehehe

-Dikkala

Yesudas, Michael

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 5:10:00 PM9/29/92
to
>Manoj Ghayalod includes:
>
> Obviously the Western form of democracy is a better system
> than the others available and India is implementing this
> system, but the fact remains that no former Western powers
> ever used their systems to benifit their former colonies (as
> the orginal poster seems to claim). But on the contrary all
> the colonies were ruthlessly exploited.
>
>I did not wish to suggest taht Western powers were very often
>motivated by benevolence, although I would suppose there is
>an element of that in the 1829 suppression of sati.
>Incidentally, that is 1829, and I suppose the Indian leaders
>Manoj Ghayalod refers to were much later.

True, the legal abolition of Sati was by William Bendick in 1829.

>
>Motivations were mixed. Individual desire to make money,
>ego and some benevolence. Even when there was benevolence,
>part ot its motivation was a sense of superiority. However,
>the innovations were introduced and were useful, e.g. secular
>universities, railroads and a British style judicial system -
>even cricket.
>
>

>--
>John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305

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

Clayton Cramer

unread,
Sep 29, 1992, 12:59:11 PM9/29/92
to
In article <1992Sep28....@e