purasuchikku wrote ;”Individually, people do not mean much (self realization is only the acceptance that we are mortal), they always fit into a larger group (a nation, a culture, even a religion or an association) with a transcendent, divine destiny”.
This seems to be the central point of present conflicts in the world. While the European civilization (some tend to call it Western civilization incorrectly, after all the Western Civilization from the Japanese point of view is the Chinese civilization), so coming back, the European civilization started with new scientific and philosophical understanding about the world sometime in the 16-17 century, while still embracing the political system of belonging to a group, community, nation, kingdom. Only at the 18 century appeared first time new ideas about individuality that brought at the end of this century the famous slogans of French revolution. “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”. This ended with unprecedented violence unseen until this time of the guillotines and Napoleonic wars. During the 19 century, after years of “Restoration” of the old order, slowly the ideas of the revolution penetrated to the European subconsciousness and in France and Brittany, with the new industrial revolution, the individual human being started to be counted. It was not an easy process. France and Europe needed the Dreyfus affair to bring to the awareness of the European population the criminality of the power structures enforced by the traditional leading elites. (I am France against J’accuse).
Twenty century seemed to start as promising, when Germany, Austria and after the 1905 revolution even Russia adopted certain kind of constitutional Royal political system, where the elected parliament had more and more influence. But the traditional political forces surrounding the one royal family ruling in whole Europe, (except in France), was not ready to accept so easily the decline of their political power. Mainly it was truth in Germany and also in Austro-Hungarian empire, a remainder of political structure created in late middle ages. The World War I was the result of this political power structure. The German ruling elites had no difficulty to recruit the nationalistic feeling of the social grouping called the German nation, created just few decades before, to start a war. This war as to my perspective ended after 80 years at 1992 with the dismantling of the Soviet empire.
The horrors of WWII, the moral remorse and joint shame of the Europeans, about the crimes they committed to the humanity, that included genocide and annihilation of cultures and races, caused a U turn in the European political culture, from national commonality to liberal individualism and human centralism. The liberal political system, that emphasizes the rights of expression of each individual human being, brought an outbrake of individual creativity, that helped to endorse economic and cultural expression, and brought progress and riches in these fields as never before in the human history.
Yet this U turn was not adopted by all the world communities. In contrary. In Europe itself, the post Soviet Russia, and lately also Turkey’s political leaders try to adopt a more pro communal focused political system, with more rigid cultural expression, suppressing the free expression of the individual, while still trying to enjoy the economic fruits, the liberal political system enabled to create. Their success is very partial, because the successful economic wealth creation in Europe based on scientific, technological and cultural freedom needs to open its societies and political system to the each individual without difference in beliefs, social belonging and even education source. Even if social coherence in these states seems to be stronger than in Europe, and many individuals, with less need for self expression, can find it more advantageous than the alternative “chaotic” state, where every individual has the right for any kind of non-normative behavior or opinion, on the long term, the liberal individualistic society, with its creative diversity, and apparently chaotic state, successfully causes emergence of new cultural and economic values, that eventually win the game, and bring the progress and the economic and cultural wealth.
Even worse economic-social-political fiasco than in Russia and Turkey can be observed in the Arab countries, adjacent to Europe and in their peripheral Muslim countries like: Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. In this countries non of the liberal individualistic approaches were adopted. Their education system is not universal, and doesn’t support learning about cultural diversity and intellectual openness. In contrary, the education system based on faith and rigid religious values suppresses the opened minded exchange of opinions so dear to the liberal individualistic approach of the Europeans.
In all the Arab countries political despotism and social-cultural intolerance prevails. The failure in these countries in all the fields of human existence is so colossal, that these states ceased to be a place to provide to its citizens a life worth to live, with right for honor and decency, and its population in desperation tries to escape to the neighboring Europe, while risking their life. Even in countries like Iran and Pakistan, where officially governs a “democratically” elected governments and certain free political expressions are allowed, as to the humanist record and the right of the individuals to self expression, they are totally repressed. No freedom of choice is given to the population in these countries in the issues of religion, sexuality, social belonging economic transparency, etc.
Unfortunately to Europe, the desperate population of the Arab and Muslim countries, while leaving behind their original homeland, bring with them their cultural identity, religious beliefs, and tribal communal belonging, that in its essence opposes the liberal individualistic European philosophy of life and politics.
The conflict between this new emigrants and the Europeans is inevitable unless the emigrants will be willingly absorbed by the original European population and the immigrants themselves will be ready to abandon their cultural identity, or at least to adopt it to a form that will enable their cultural incorporation to the liberal individualistic cultural concepts of the European societies. Obviously this is not what is happening. Such a cultural change and adaptation of millions of people is a prolong process, even if the immigrant is ready to live behind his beliefs and cultural identity, that brought on them in the first place the tragedy of need to leave their birth place and home.
Also the European political leadership and its population is not ready to make necessary changes in their political philosophy to try to cope with the new situation, where bigger and bigger populations of Europe live a cultural life, that strongly opposes the individualistic humanistic values the European political culture is based on. The conflict between political system based on absolute faith in scripts expressing belief in extraterrestrial extra-human entity governing human destiny and individual life, and the rational scientific belief system believing in the right and duty of each individual to take responsibility on its own beliefs, destiny and acts seems to be at this state of affairs inevitable.