The Value of Culture

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Sönam » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:37 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sönam wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Perhaps the question should better be "in what human culture(s) are females NOT oppressed, as compared to males?"

Precious few, I think.


It depends how you view oppression. I think thousands years of male education have created some habituation that men have to deal with ... and it's not easy for them. I can easily compare that man's oppression to the woman's oppression, and I'm not sure which one is the heaviest ... if even there is one heaviest.

Sönam



Yes, women's.


You're possibly right at the end of the bill. But women have also been preserved from such oppressions as war, responsibilities and a long list of others delikatessen of the kind ...

Sönam
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:Kirt asks:

I'm still asking what if anything beyond science, mathematics and engineering needs to be preserved in western culture. Is there a there there? Sally and username are discussing Marx from the starting point of Marx's criticism of capitalism.

Cultures arose historically mostly from little groups with mutual language comprehensibility or religious cohesion interacting. This is all embeded in a samsaric context and Tibetan culture is no different at lest on the secular level.

Why do we need to preserve cultures? The majority of cultures that have ever existed on the planet are gone as distinct, labelable entities. Cultures are identities that people attach to. Do cultures serve any real purpose for humans?


We need to preserve humans cultures in the same way we need to preserve biodiversity in general.


Let's take some specific examples dramatized in media: I have been horrified by the Borgias series and by Agora, the excellent movie about Hypatia and the destruction of Alexandrian culture circa 350 AD.

In the Borgias: the family itself does not seem to be exceptional in their use of violence or duplicity. They just wield power well and are the most vicious and cunning dogs in the pack. But it is truly horrifying to see witch burnings as a casual affair where a woman for one reason or another is bound to a stake and carried to the place of execution and burned to death (and this Sunday Savonarola gets to burn at the stake as well). This form of communal, ritual murder is no longer an obvious element of western culture but in fact communal murder was perpetrated in Chile and Argentina in the past 35-40 yrs, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbska (and possibly Serbia proper) and Kosovo in the past 20 yrs, Germany in the past 70 yrs, various parts of Africa, much of Central America during the 80's and Mexico now.

The violence depicted in Agora is on the same level but at a smaller scale.

These cultures are part of the building blocks of resultant western culture. What in these examples is praiseworthy and worth preserving?

Kirt
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Ogyen » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:08 pm

Sönam wrote:You're possibly right at the end of the bill. But women have also been preserved from such oppressions as war, responsibilities and a long list of others delikatessen of the kind ...

Sönam


The chicken looks at the pig and said, "Let's do something great for the world, and feed all the starving people there. Let's make everyone breakfast of bacon and eggs." The pig looks at the chicken... :pig:

I beg to disagree, ce n'est pas "preserved" mon ami. The vulnerable and defenseless (women and children) are historically the first to pay with their own lives, sex, and servitude for wars, men's responsibilities, thirst and fight for power, and the long list of other delikatessen of the kind in which they become the targets/casualties of. And women's only recourse historically has been to plead with the good sense of not women but ... other men. Hardly balanced. But it is the way it has been for millennia.

It is only a relatively recent phenomenon that some women have risen to power enough to effect change in any significant way and gain successes like reproductive rights, but also still in a small portion of the world, relatively speaking. The large majority of the world is still male-dominated in terms of its hegemonic and hierarchical structure.

From a philosophical standpoint, the man's burden is heavy, no question there. I did not make the comment to start a gender divisive note. The heaviest burden of the man, from my woman's standpoint is in the realm of "growing up" globally and allowing more freedom of basic human rights to those they deem inferior. Basically, exercising better judgment in their use of power towards those who do not 'matter.' I do not question the weight on the shoulders of men. But I never forget at who's expense that weight is borne either. Just one more reason for practicing kindness, non? C'est tout.

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Sönam » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:31 pm

bon, mais ... now that we are at then end of the bill, qui paie l'addition ?

:yinyang:
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:34 pm

Ogyen wrote:It is only a relatively recent phenomenon that some women have risen to power enough to effect change in any significant way and gain successes like reproductive rights, but also still in a small portion of the world, relatively speaking. The large majority of the world is still male-dominated in terms of its hegemonic and hierarchical structure.


Yeah women are such exceptions as leaders. Just look at Empress Cixi, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Eva Peron and Isabel Perón. We can add the Grandmothers who still regularly indoctrinate their grandsons with stories of Israeli atrocities from 1946, showing them the keys to their former houses and urging them to clear the land. I could go on (and it can get much worse). Some of these people have less blood on their hands than others but they all have blood on their hands.

How many Serbian or Croatian women stood up and said that the atrocities were immoral during the Yugoslavian Wars? How many Nazi women (I know of one in Hitler's inner circle who was quite naive and came close to that - other than that there was the heroic protest at Rosenstrasse in Berlin but these women were by and large not Nazi party members [although some were])?

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Ogyen » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:37 pm

Sönam wrote:bon, mais ... now that we are at then end of the bill, qui paie l'addition ?

:yinyang:
Sönam



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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:48 pm

kirtu wrote: What in these examples is praiseworthy and worth preserving?

Kirt


You cannot sum up a whole culture in its faults. That is rather racist.

M
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Ogyen » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:55 pm

kirtu wrote:
Ogyen wrote:It is only a relatively recent phenomenon that some women have risen to power enough to effect change in any significant way and gain successes like reproductive rights, but also still in a small portion of the world, relatively speaking. The large majority of the world is still male-dominated in terms of its hegemonic and hierarchical structure.


Yeah women are such exceptions as leaders. Just look at Empress Cixi, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Eva Peron and Isabel Perón. We can add the Grandmothers who still regularly indoctrinate their grandsons with stories of Israeli atrocities from 1946, showing them the keys to their former houses and urging them to clear the land. I could go on (and it can get much worse). Some of these people have less blood on their hands than others but they all have blood on their hands.


Power is power, its abuse is abuse, regardless of gender. Women are in samsara as well. If anything, when put in positions of power, abuse has been seen to rise there too because of said repression, the counter effect is to do what men do to 'stay in the game.' There are many women who have become 'worse' than men with their power, but look at the context... what role modeling did they have to compete with to keep that power? There's a reason they say that for any respect a woman has to be twice as good as a man at it to still get half the credit. They still operate in a man's world of power, so to get respect or fear, they have to play on a man's playing field and by their rules.

kirtu wrote:How many Serbian or Croatian women stood up and said that the atrocities were immoral during the Yugoslavian Wars? How many Nazi women (I know of one in Hitler's inner circle who was quite naive and came close to that - other than that there was the heroic protest at Rosenstrasse in Berlin but these women were by and large not Nazi party members [although some were])?


Really?!?!?!! How about any middle-eastern women who want to stand up to the men ravaging their lands and homes? Sure, we don't SEE any of THEM standing up either. Do you know what they did/do to women who stood up? How about rape, torture, and death (not necessarily in that order) for one? A man dies for protest in wars, he's a hero or just killed and unknown. A woman dies for protest in a war - b*itch got told, put in her place, killed or raped, because she deserved it. You don't even know who they were/are.

Wait, we can go even closer to home. How about all the women who are speaking out for being raped in the military? Nice support they're getting there, being charged with adultery, sexual inappropriate behavior... and the hierarchy continues to turn its eyes away from the problem as "a job hazard." Nice... this is modern day, with women who supposedly have all kinds of rights and privileges. If they get it this good, the rest of the world is screwed.

My point stands. It is the responsibility of (men) in legislative power to improve their practices around the exercise of power where they have it. Not just towards women. Towards all those who 'don't matter' in their scope of the power structure including gays, children, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the defenseless and vulnerable. Period.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:59 pm

Sönam wrote:
You're possibly right at the end of the bill. But women have also been preserved from such oppressions as war, responsibilities and a long list of others delikatessen of the kind ...

Sönam


Maybe in the upper classes but not in the lower classes (hint, there are more of them).
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote: What in these examples is praiseworthy and worth preserving?

Kirt


You cannot sum up a whole culture in its faults. That is rather racist.

M


It is not at all racist to list specific issues with Italian Renaissance culture or with Alexandrian Egypt. It would be racist if I said that Germans were inherently violent (like people did try to say after 1945) or that Italians are scum, Alexandrian Greco-Egyptians inherently have something wrong with them, or that Serbians or Croatians are a mongrel pack of murderers, etc. I'm not saying that and your accusation is ridiculous.

You do not want to confront issues with western culture. Like most Americans you want to ignore serious issues and hope they go away. Of course this isn't just an American issue but many western Europeans are prepared to engage on these issues after a beer or two.

So again - the Italian Renaissance and the Greco-Egyptian Alexandrian culture both definitely indulged in communal, ritualistic murder as depicted in these two accurate (if somewhat sanitized) dramas. These two cultures are part of the bedrock of modern western culture. What is praiseworthy about their murderous indulgences? Their murderousness cannot be divorced from the culture either (in the case of Alexandrian Egypt - perhaps - but many Pagans and "Christians" were all too eager to murder each other and esp. the Jewish population around them). In the case of the Italian Renaissance they just went on and on with witch burnings - western culture did this up to Salem, New England and even later (the last witch burning in Europe was in the early 1700's of all things). Additionally communal murder continues as an element of western culture as I listed recent historical events. So this bloodthirstiness is part and parcel of western societies. Why? Why do people tolerate this? Why are they otherwise blind to it (in one movie, the semi-pornographic Y tu Mama tambien, police and militarial violence in Mexican society is motiv occurring in the background of the film to which the young upper-class protagonists are completely oblivious). Why don't western societies just say no to communal murder? Beyond the scope of western society we have the incredible spectacles of Zimbabwe turning on itself and Sri Lanka promoting a nationalist Buddhism that resulted in genocide. Materialists would just punt and say that humans are merely acting out under genetic influence that ensured individual and small group survival 1-4 million years ago (an evolutionary excuse). I might agree with that as communal murder is practiced so often and naturally across the globe that it has to be an integral part of human society but it's outbreaks are usually followed by deep shame and revulsion in society. So the better aspects of culture can eventually trump evolutionary impulses. Given that, society can decide to completely turn away from communal murder (except that the societies that did that got gobbled up by others, Hawai'i and Tibet being too historically recent examples, both safe only to a point by geography).

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Ogyen » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:47 pm

kirtu wrote:the semi-pornographic Y tu Mama tambien


speaking of cultural value and differences... this was HARDLY semi-pornographic!! You must possess American sensibilities on sex in movies... :tongue: just playin'...

for the rest, hey, most Europeans can engage these topics without becoming particularly hostile in my experience. Americans on the other hand... it's some times easier to let it go because we start seeing people defending their very beings with basic intellectual exchanges... again, different sensibilities... when in Rome.

What IS a forum on the internet? How do we gauge what Rome we're in?? I'm confused.

Your post indicates me that you basically agree that abuse is abuse, no matter what form or who it's done to. That I think is the significant bottom line. I was raised in the Italian culture, and can attest to the many phases the culture went through to be where it is...

value of culture vignette:

If I had to anthropomorphize some of the countries I've lived in for fun - yes THESE are my own broad-stroked generalizations made like a cartoon, not to be taken seriously or offensively... feel free to laugh or skip through.

Italy is the relaxed middle aged lecherous dude looking at 18 year olds. Totally about la bella vita. He's seen it all, the rise and the fall, he's made the mistakes, like his other European siblings... likes chasing tail and is still a mama's boy, but overall, stays pretty cool under the collar where gender is concerned, though pretty prejudiced in the balance of power. Just LOVES the feminine. A lot of it.

Germany is the middle-aged egalitarian man, has a thing about control, sharing it, giving it, etc. and finding structure in all forms of beauty and love. Appreciates a slightly more mature feminine than the Italy does.

France is also the middle aged man like his siblings Italy and Germany who truly loves and appreciates the beauty and the woman, because le joie de vivre is what makes life worth anything. Loves wine and movies.

Nepal is the old guy with a split personality, who one the one hand loves woman with a real lusty side, but on the other hand denies that sexy just is, because sexy is a product of the mind and ultimately meaningless... Women can seize power here by force sometimes.

India is an old guy with a split similar to Nepal, but there's two extreme faces to his desire that includes the full spectrum from a lot of both respect and violence - but behind closed doors. Very private in his expression, but very emotional.

Mexico is a young man entering his prime, likes to do it a lot. Likes to take it if not given it. Likes to spend what he's got, show off, big bark, chihuahua bite (National animal for a reason), big joker, but also deadly when angered. Big macho man on the outside, full of nobility in manner, but also still young enough to react violently where his pride is wounded. Worships and venerates the mother in a way that supersedes most other countries.

America is the 16 year old teenager who barely realized he can do it, gets overly excited and ahead it himself where anything sexual is concerned, including awkward and psychotically reactionary. With the added danger of having big $ pockets, a bottle of pills, a bottle of booze and a shotgun in hand... yikes... a strange combination for a culture. Very strange for liberty.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:58 pm

kirtu wrote:Like most Americans you want to ignore serious issues and hope they go away. Of course this isn't just an American issue but many western Europeans are prepared to engage on these issues after a beer or two.



You have a very chauvanistic attitude.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:00 pm

kirtu wrote: So the better aspects of culture can eventually trump evolutionary impulses.


Your arguments are not about culture, they are about crimes.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:09 pm

Ogyen wrote:
My point stands. It is the responsibility of (men) in legislative power to improve their practices around the exercise of power where they have it. Not just towards women. Towards all those who 'don't matter' in their scope of the power structure including gays, children, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the defenseless and vulnerable. Period.


I agree.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby underthetree » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:29 pm

How are we defining 'culture' here? In the broad sense of markers that define a particular social grouping, or high culture (the things that end up in museums)?

My own feeling is that high culture must be preserved. Not venerated or slavishly copied, necessarily, but preserved. Experiments in iconoclasm have always been, by in large, expensive failures.

The other stuff, the social grouping stuff? Takes care of itself. It's what we do as human beings. We can regret political blocks, or nationalism, or racism, or one society's take on social or gender equality over another, but we always do it from a cultural perspective - our own.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:37 am

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote: So the better aspects of culture can eventually trump evolutionary impulses.


Your arguments are not about culture, they are about crimes.


The culture permits the crimes because the culture establishes templates that people rely upon to think or to replace thinking, esp. moral thinking beyond some norm established by the culture.

Witch burning or mass execution of enemies is a template established that people become familiar with, perhaps even comfortable with. These templates can remain as stable forces for a long time historically.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:41 am

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:Like most Americans you want to ignore serious issues and hope they go away. Of course this isn't just an American issue but many western Europeans are prepared to engage on these issues after a beer or two.



You have a very chauvanistic attitude.


Well this is just a fact. Americans tend to not engage problems and Western Europeans, at least superficially or intellectually, tend to be willing to engage problems.

I think if you ask other third culture people you would get similar responses. I base this on nearly always finding similar patterns with other third culture people (although this also depends on how deeply they were influenced by their other culture(s) before about 25).

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:51 am

kirtu wrote:
Well this is just a fact.


No, it is your opinion.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:53 am

kirtu wrote:
Witch burning...

Kirt



No, witches emerged from pagan European culture, but because the Church wanted to control medicine, they instituted a progrom against healers.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Quiet Heart » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:16 am

:smile:
Can I add a few comments here?

1. The term "Culture" is like a catch-all. Therefore it is too broad and ill-defined. The term "Western culture" is worse.
For example, western culture can include things like witch burning, the mass murders of the Nazis, sexual oppression and discrimination ( a bow to you Oxygen for bringing up that point)....and many other bad examples.
But it can also include the championing of the individual and his/her right to be "different" from the mass of the rest of the population...i.e. as male/female homosexual rights.
Or to wear long hair and a mustache without being discriminated against for that choice.
Which part is a "characteristic" of '"Western Culture"?
I'll be da--ed if I know.
I personally see it as something like Fire. Fire cooked our food....and that was good. Fire can also burn down our houses....and that's not a good thing,
That's what a "Culture? is like....a stew of the good and the bad cooked together....isn't it?

2, And point #1 is precisely and exactly why a "culture"....both the good and bad parts....should be preserved (even if outdated).
Because humans never know what will occur in the future....impermanence you know....and we may NEED those outdated examples of what short-term solutions another "culture" came up with as their sloution when they faced the very same human choices our "culture" now faces.
When our adapted "culture" is not working....not meeting our specs...then without other possible choices....what will we adopt as our best compromise?
:smile:
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in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
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