Thursday, August 25, 2005

Further Thoughts on Inter-Civilizational Cooperation

Yesterday's post "What Annoys Indians?" could have just as well been named "What Annoys?" The answer is always "the other"--that which is not like us. The Sino-Islamic axis is basically limited to military and economic cooperation against a set of common enemies. Beyond that there is no love between Islamists and the Han Chinese. Perhaps it is too optimistic to expect a love between Western and Hindu civilizations beyond substantial military and economic cooperation.

Different aspects of India's social system, for example, just plain annoy Westerners and probably always will, and vice-versa. In the book May You Be The Mother of a Hundred Sons, Elisabeth Bumiller, in contemplating the preocupation Indian mothers have with arranging their children's marriages, wryly observes that in general young Indian boys and girls are not allowed to date--as if being allowed to date were a sign of cultural progress. That is typical wisdom coming from someone who appears to support many if not all the social conventions that are responsible for the West's spiraling depopulation; in history, depopulation has been a harbinger of civilizational collapse. After ruling the world for the last 200 - 300 years, on cultural issues the West has become something like an old man who refuses to accept that he is losing control of his body and lashes out at anyone who suggests he should give up his car keys.

Cooperation between Hindu and Western civilizations, as in other civilizational joint ventures, is probably not a viable proposition beyond military and economic cooperation. When the need for such cooperation disappears, then the rivalry between former civilizational partners will again move to conflict in the economic and military arenas.


Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

I was on vacation last week and missed your discussion on "What annoys" (a quick perusal without going through all the comments is a limited exercise but all I could do today.) I haven't commented before at your site, but suspect I iwll visit more often in the future. I would like to comment on your post about arranged marriages. While it is not conceivable that we would ever revert to arranged marriages in this country, there is much to be said for the idea from my POV as a practicing Psychiatrist/Psychoanalyst. I have little time so I will be brief (perhaps I should write a blog post about it) but I would suggest that when we fall in love, we are effectively caught in a time-limited psychopathological state in which our critical functions are impaired; in other words, we often choose a marriage partner for "neurotic" reasons. An argument can be made that our parents would be better at making non-neurotic choices for us; if we were able to marry based on a more realistic look at our future spouse, it is likely the divorce rates would be lower than they currently are. In any event, that is a long discussion for another place, but I would submit that a culture that values parents making informed and loving arranged marriages may have better long term prospects than one that depends on romantic love.

11:12 AM, August 29, 2005  
Blogger krishna_kirti said...

OK, now I get your online moniker, "shrinkwrapped". Clever :-)

With regard to courtship, marriage, population, and the economy there is a relevant article over at titled "Demographics and the Culture War" by Stanley Kurtz, who argues that major cultural change is in the works if Western social patterns don't change. (Actually, he seems to think they have to change on account of the correlated economic crisis that is on the horizon.)

What could happen is if current social patterns are held to as long as possible, there may come a point in some European countries where Europe stops becoming Europe.

I guess in my mind I'm wondering if the research you mentioned regarding courtship and marriage are being used to address this problem, and if so, what is actually being done?

One thing that counts in India's favor on the demographics scene is, although birth control and abortion are now a commonplace part of Indian society (you don't have protesters outside of abortion clinics there), their economy is still largely agrarian and agrarian economies are usually well correlated with expanding demographics.

China's birth control program was too successful. In about 20 years or less they are going to experience problems with an aging population not unlike what Europe and Japan are undergoing. That will put them at an economic and military disadvantage..

1:18 PM, August 29, 2005  
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