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However, all Asian cultures have gradually found out during the last two hundred years that—unlike the European Christendom or the traditional West—the modern West finds it difficult to coexist with other cultures. It may have a well-developed language of coexistence and tolerance and well-honed tools for conversing with other civilisations. It may even have the cognitive riches to study, understand or decode the non-West. But, culturally, it has an exceeding poor capacity to live with strangers. It has to try to either overwhelm or proselytise them. Is this a trait derived from the urban-industrial vision and global capitalism which, not satiated even after winning over every major country in the world, have to penetrate the smallest of villages and the most private areas of our personal lives? Is it a contribution of the ideologues of development, who after all their successes, still feel defeated if some remote community somewhere does not fall in line or some eccentric individual attacks them? I do not know, but I do find that even most dissenting westerners, who have genuinely identified with the colonised societies and fought for their cause, sometimes at some personal cost, have usually supported the `right’ causes without any empathy with native categories or languages of dissent, without even a semblance of respect for the indigenous modes of resistance, philosophical or practical. It will not too uncharitable to say that they, too, have struggled to retain the capital of dissent in the West and to remain flamboyant spokespersons of the oppressed of the world-whether the oppressed are the proverbial proletariat or the not-so-proverbial women, working children or victims of environmental depredations. Even decolonisation demands western texts and academic leadership, they believe. And many Asians, especially the expatriate Asians in the first world, enthusiastically agree.
“… the modern West finds it difficult to coexist with other cultures.”
Nicely put. Some folks just call us “arrogant bastards”.
“…It has to try to either overwhelm or proselytise them.”
Just to clarify – It’s the Christians who try to proselytize; because of the Great Commission. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.” The intent is not overwhelm but rather enlighten, transform and renew the mind, reconcile and reestablish man’s relationship with his Maker - because at one time we were on speaking terms with The Man. (The reader may not agree with that, but that is the objective of The Way.)
Christianity actually started in the Middle East, from Jerusalem. It is not a religion limited or restricted by boundaries – so east, west, north, south does not really apply.
“…dissenting westerners, who have genuinely identified with the colonised societies”
The “dissenting westerners” and faithful practicing Christians (no matter what nationality they may happen to be or what part of the world they were born or raised in) – when applying the Golden Rule - are both on the same page. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them …” Everybody should be able to identify with the fact that we are all the human race.THE SAME HUMAN RACE!
“… dissenting westerners, who have genuinely identified with the colonised societies and fought for their cause, … have usually supported the `right’ causes without any empathy with native categories or languages of dissent, …”
Yes. EXACTLY. Because the “dissenting westerners” had/have come to realize that Christian principles are not limited, they are universal and can work for all mankind. Although the “dissenting westerners” may just call it a “matter of principles” and leave off the Christian part.
FYI. Christians and “Westerners” are not equal, synonymous or interchangeable terms or labels. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the first gospel sermon was preached on the day of Pentecost from Jerusalem, and the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
The only “cause” Christians die for is the cause of Christianity. If in the process of dying for that cause, they were also defending the rights of others or taking a stand against an injustice, etc., they consider that their “personal cost” is nothing compared to what Jesus Christ endured.