Monday, July 23, 2012

Why I Am Proud To Be A Cultural Elitist

Most people wouldn't even use those words to describe me, I'm of European descent, but I love anime, martial arts, and have worked in a Japanese steakhouse. I think aboriginal art is pretty cool, and admit that ghurka soldiers fight like ever loving devils. For all of that when some over educated (and my does that label seem odd coming from me) twit goes on about colonialism or other justifications for white guilt it sets my blood boiling. To be perfectly honest for all the horrors my cultural forebears might be guilty of there is much good that they perpetuated as well.

Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press made copying books faster and cheaper and thereby made literature more accessible to the masses. Shakespeare and his plays illuminated the human condition in all its myriad forms, from tragedy to romance and absurdity. The medieval knight started off as little more than a soldier and warlord but through the influences of the church became an exemplar of gentility and refinement as well as strength. And the church? Oh my, it may be trendy to bash the papacy and all that support it, but through the dark ages it was holy brothers of the Catholic faith who safeguarded the works of ancient Rome and the near east.

The renaissance, that great enlightenment that saw the thinkers of Europe to ponder the human condition and how we are all connected to one another form the basis of modern thought on morality and civility itself the world over, and modern ideas of equality between the sexes can be traced in their nascent form to Eleanor of Aquitaine and her support for the ideals of courtly love which placed the heart over.... baser organs shall we say?

Eastern mysticism, aboriginal shamanism, and a whole host of other ways of looking at the world might be interesting, but the classically European method of looking out and seeking order amongst the chaos, of building always upon what is, has served the world well and so I'm proud to be a distinctly "Western" thinker.

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