Western Civilization and Social Evolution
Western culture, to me, seems to be based on inclusion, acceptance and discovery about the world around it. It, unfortunately, has members within it who don’t follow these concepts and are barbaric and cruel to others who are not like them. They also can be cruel and barbaric to those who are not as open, accepting and inquisitive as they are.
It is generally split up amongst the various European societies and the scions of the European colonies where most of the native populations were wiped out and displaced by the colonizing societies (ie, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Each society has their own unique trends and their own unique senses of themselves. However, at least in the United States, the compass points towards acceptance, inclusion and inquiriy into how things work even though, like any culture, there are those who follow the culture more rigorously and strictly than others (hence how you get conservative culture in the United States).
We’re all, more than likely, tribalists in one form or another, as human beings. Unless we make a conscious effort to understand and practice within ourselves compassion, understanding, acceptance and awareness of others that are around us, we’re more likely going to slip back into a realm of exclusion, anger, hate, jealousy and negativity towards those we perceive as being different than our own selves. This, I think, comes from our chimpish background, to which we owe our deeper biological roots. The only saving grace that humans have is that our brains are able to stop some of the functions of the rest of our brain, at least temporarily, thus opening ourselves up to the opportunity to change our own outlook, behavior, attitude and actions. This gives us an advantage in adaptability that other species don’t have. This is arguably how we’ve been able to change and evolve so much in such a short period of time, as we move from tribalistic and barbarously cruel individuals and groups of individuals to more conscientious, aware and accepting individuals and groups of individuals with the advent of agriculture and civilization as we’ve known it. It is, after all, through collective action and cooperation in solving common problems that we’re able to achieve the best results for all sides, while tribalism and division have only served our own group when we were less interconnected and living like animals. Some, it seems, have retained more or less of those animalistic traits, which then mainfests itself in various ways, be it through the way we interact with and view other people(s), to the way we vote and prioritize and execute policy and action in and outside of government (the more brutish being those who define themselves as political conservatives, with political liberals retaining many of those same brutish traits towards those they identify as political others).
Ultimately, the working against each other for tribal or individual gain over the collective well being is destructive, both for the collective whole that composes all life in the universe and for the individuals who live in those collective groupings. We can either choose to maintain the chimp ways of barbarism, tribalism and other forms of competitive nonsense, or adopt new attitudes, outlooks, actions and beliefs that are more pro-social and more inclusive of the “other” that does not do harm onto others. We can evolve ourselves into a new organism through constant repetitive action of thought and practice.
However, this process takes thousands of generations (not just years) to accomplish. I doubt that we’ll be able to do this terribly well in time to save ourselves from long term crashes and possible extinction due to our own stupidity, ignorance, carelessness and callousness towards ourselves, nature and all living beings in nature. That is all that the brutish side of ourselves is now, unless it is used to drive away that which destroys us individually and collectively. It’s going to take ages to accomplish, if we’re able to accomplish this at all. But, it’s going to have to be done within ourselves. Otherwise, we’re dead as a species.
It’s time we ask ourselves, “what do we value?” and “how do we go about getting at what we value?” Without these questions being answered positively, in the context of the grand algorithm of survival, on the individual and collective level, we won’t be able to pass on our genetic or memetic material to the next generation, if there is going to be a next generation in the first place.
Think about it.