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But it is at times of bewilderment that the weapon of analysis and criticism comes into its own...
October 15, 2001 7:26 PM   Subscribe

But it is at times of bewilderment that the weapon of analysis and criticism comes into its own... If western culture is shown to be rich it is because, even before the Enlightenment, it has tried to "dissolve" harmful simplifications through inquiry and the critical mind. Umberto Eco speaks in The Guardian.
posted by rushmc (11 comments total)

 
Fabulous! (Me to myself: Calm down, already.) Thanks. Beats his own previous article on ur-fascism.
posted by raysmj at 7:54 PM on October 15, 2001


Eco is spot on, as usual. I like the point the makes about the one-way traffic between the west and other cultures:
The west has decided to channel money and effort into studying other customs and practices, but no one has really given other people the chance to study western customs and practices, except at schools maintained by white expatriates, or by allowing the rich from other cultures to study in Oxford or Paris. What happens then is that they return home to organise fundamentalist movements, because they feel solidarity with those of their compatriots who lack the opportunity for such education

The West asks itself "Why do they hate us?". The rest of the world asks "Why do the West ignore us?" A recipe for disaster. I guess the U.S. has already started compensating for this imbalance, by becoming conscious of the world out there - who hasn't learnt a bit about, for instance, Islam in the last month? - and that has got to be good news.

Thanks, rushmc.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:01 PM on October 15, 2001


My favorite line?

The Turks were impalers (and that's bad) .
posted by gd779 at 8:11 PM on October 15, 2001


Miguel: The rest of the world asks "Why do the West ignore us?"

I hope that that's not an accurate characterization. It makes the non-Western world sound like a child looking for attention.
posted by gd779 at 8:13 PM on October 15, 2001


It makes the non-Western world sound like a child looking for attention.

Or, alternatively, a peer seeking recognition and participation. Depends on the tone, perhaps?
posted by rushmc at 8:16 PM on October 15, 2001


from article:
...but it is advisable to have recourse to a system of values which we do not feel we can relinquish.

key word 'we'.
some individuals have such sets of values, but not everyone does. for those who don't, they look to religion? government? the US government seem to give out a set of such values currently, but putting aside inevitable filtering and editorials when these ideas are delivered by a third party, is it prudent for individuals to agree with the system of values decreed if they/ we are not informed enough to qualify them?


and to comment on the comments on the comments:

tone has a lot to do with attitudes. i think gd779 is talking about ethnocentricism embedded in the tone while the content of the statements is agreeing with the article's denouncing of ethnocentricism.
you can see the irony there.
posted by elle at 12:09 AM on October 16, 2001


Well, I'd like to read this but the Guardian always crashes my computer trying to load the page. The only site with this problem. Haven't figured it out yet since it's always a total system freeze requiring pulling the plug.
Maybe someday I'll once again be able to read along with the rest of you.
posted by HTuttle at 12:50 AM on October 16, 2001


HTuttle: you haven't supplied an email address. Try signing up for the Guardian weblog. It's very good - better than The Guardian itself , as it covers a whole mess of good articles, from left to right.
(I'll do it for you if your system keeps freezing)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:29 AM on October 16, 2001


That's a great, erudite piece, which in its erudition demonstrates the values that it celebrates. Thanks, rushmc.
posted by holgate at 2:13 AM on October 16, 2001


are you thinking what i think you're thinking, holgate? because if you are i'd be pleased.
posted by elle at 3:57 AM on October 16, 2001


HTuttle: Try this Counter Punch link.
posted by talos at 4:12 AM on October 16, 2001


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