The history of our planet is filled with invasions of cultures. These clashes have often lead to massive levels to deceit, destruction and sadly, in some cases, the genocide of whole societies. Yet this is often the side of cultural confrontation that is rarely discussed. Here in the America’s, one can look at the European arrival that nearly wiped out entire Native Indian tribes.
Much needs to be repaired where it can be, but we must learn and understand our human history so that all cultures and individuals can improve our civilization and ourselves. Our world is no longer limitless. For we have much to discover to save life on earth. Much work to do, for there is no Planet B, no other Earth to escape to in time.
For a more positive perspective, I’d like to look at the merging of cultures with regards to East meets West to see where mutual strengths can benefit life on earth as a whole.
Western culture has been one of pressing forward, bringing the world advancements in technology with both positive and negative results to pursue wealth and luxury in order to find happiness, power and fulfillment. Exploring and concurring through ingenuity and destruction, seeing the world as limitless and for the taking without consequences.
Even though Eastern and indigenous cultures have had significant violence and upheaval over the centuries as well, positive aspects of these cultures are finding their way to the shores of the Western world. Aside from tribal discipline of constraint over the individual, aspects of Buddhist culture have maintained their values in the East. For a number of decades now Buddhist thought regarding peaceful self awareness and openness has been coming to the shores of Western culture in the form of both meditation, yoga and a philosophy of acceptance and knowledge of oneself and the Universe.
The strength of this culture is that it allows an individual to become not just more aware of themselves, but in so doing, becoming more aware of the realities and the beauty of the world around them. A culture of respect for nature and life itself.
So, in this time of year when we tend to acknowledge the meeting of cultures, let us look deeply into ourselves to discover how we can improve our true sense of well being along with our planets limitations we are now confronting. Over population and greed have shown how out of balance our world has become. It is time for both Eastern and Western cultures to take the best of both worlds to improve our chances for survival as a species,
Both must pursue more sustainable, aware and inclusive world.
The West can bring effort and forceful technology to build safe and renewable forms of energy while rapidly removing the old and destructive actions and activities.
The East can do the same by limiting its adoption of western actions while failing to consider the consequences. The East can be proud of its positive Buddhist philosophy’s while at the same time learn from indigenous cultures and their respect for nature. The West can adopt those practices and learn to become more at peace with and acceptance of the fragileness of nature and the limits of our world.
Seeking love, kindness, awareness and balance in our daily lives is critical to our own investment in this melding of cultures and life’s survival on our ever shrinking planet we all call home.