Western Culture Knowledge Center:
What is Non-Western Culture?

Introduction and Description
Nonwestern Culture and Race
Core Ideas and Values
Brief History of Nonwestern Culture
Where Is Nonwestern Culture Today

Non-western culture is a body of ideas and values derived fundamentally from mysticism or subjectivism, as opposed to reason.

Consequently, it is characterized essentially by anti-individualism, self-sacrifice, tyranny, the view that humanity is depraved and / or helpless, and a hostility or indifference to economic progress, science and technology.

Nonwestern culture can also be referred to as uncivilized culture. This is because its essential ideas and values are fundamentally opposed to the ideas and values that lead to the development and sustainment of civilization.

Nonwestern Culture and Race
Nonwestern culture, as well as all culture, is intellectually determined — not racially or geographically determined. In other words, nonwestern culture need not be the culture of non-whites or non-Europeans. By the same token, whites or Europeans are not incapable of embracing nonwestern culture. For example, the European Dark Age was a time when nonwestern culture dominated in Europe. For more explanation on culture and race, see What Is Western Culture.

Core Ideas and Values
View of Reality
Nonwestern culture usually regards reality, that is, the world man perceives, to be merely a manipulation and distortion of "true" reality. This "true" reality is regarded as largely beyond human perception and understanding and is the product of divine consciousness.

Nonwestern culture may also regard reality to be ultimately a product of human consciousness. In other words, it may view reality to be the product of the hopes, wants, wishes and desires of a particular group (a race, nation, class, gender, etc.) and every group at least partially creates its own reality and truth.

In either case, nonwestern culture does not regard the reality that humanity perceives to be primary, independent, and absolute -- but rather subordinate, dependent and flexible. See Reason for more explanation.

View of Knowledge

Nonwestern culture holds that human knowledge is acquired primarily through non-rational means. Consequently, reason and its products are devalued in the culture. See Reason for more explanation.

View of Humanity
Nonwestern culture views man as an unthinking being who survives, not primarily by reason and production, but by physical strength and / or gifts from God. Humanity is often regarded as depraved, weak and helpless. See Reason for more explanation.

View of the Individual
God or / and the group (the society, the state, the tribe, etc.), not the individual, is considered sovereign and the primary value in nonwestern culture. Consequently, the individual is viewed as having relevance and value only insofar as he knows his place—that is, only insofar as he submits to, depends on and serves the will of God or / and the group. For more explanation, see Individualism.

View of Worldly Happiness
Nonwestern culture holds that personal happiness must be sacrificed for the sake of duty to God and / or the group (the society, the state, the tribe, etc.). Attempting to achieving one's own worldly happiness is generally viewed as immoral, futile and reckless; life is regarded as something to be endured, not enjoyed. For more explanation, see Happiness.

View of Rights and Government
In nonwestern culture, individual rights, the only kind of valid rights, are not recognized or protected. Consequently, the individual acts only by permission, not right, while the government has total freedom to control and dispense with the individual in any way it chooses. See Rights for more explanation.

View of Economic Progress, Science and Technology
Nonwestern culture, at root, embraces poverty, privation, ignorance and primitivism and, as a result, opposes economic progress, science and technology. The culture could not achieve economic progress, science and technology even if it wanted to because it does not value what makes such things possible. See Capitalism for more explanation.

Brief History of Nonwestern Culture
Nonwestern culture as described above has had at least some presence in all civilizations everywhere throughout history, past and present. The general but not necessarily unavoidable historical pattern is that nonwestern culture has little presence and influence during the formative or rebuilding years of a civilization; sooner or later, nonwestern culture gains increased presence and influence which slows the civilization's progress; then ultimately it dominates a civilization's culture which eventually leads to the civilization's demise.

The presence and influence of nonwestern culture is not the only possible cause of a civilization's end; natural disasters including disease as well as invasion / war can cause a collapse. However, the presence and influence of nonwestern culture can make these events more likely to occur and do great harm because nonwestern culture weakens a civilization's ability to prevent and successful deal with such events.

For example, Rome grew and developed as it did because it generally held pro-civilization, western ideas and values. As centuries went by, Rome became increasingly nonwestern, specifically mystical and otherworldly. This irrationality would eventually weaken Rome to a point in which barbarian invasion and disease could and would bring about its fall.

Where Nonwestern Culture Is Today
In addition to being the highly dominant culture for primitive, prehistoric-like tribes that still exist in small pockets on some continents, nonwestern culture has at least some presence, and often a substantial presence, in all of the world's nations currently. It is especially present and influential in most of Africa, the Middle East and substantial parts of Asia.

However, in some parts of Asia, especially China and India, nonwestern culture, which in the fairly recent past has dominated in these nations, appears to be on the decline as these civilizations attempt to significantly develop and grow.

Nonwestern culture has, relative to the rest of the world, the least presence and influence in Europe, America and other nations settled by Europeans and their descendants. However, nonwestern culture's presence and influence is currently rising in these parts of the world and has been for at least 100 years.

It should be noted that nonwestern culture does not and cannot exist anywhere in undiluted form, that is, with no degree of Western, civilized culture mixed with it. Given the irrational, destructive nature of nonwestern culture, any nation that even attempted to become fully nonwestern would quickly collapse into anarchy, starvation, abject poverty, and savagery. Even the most primitive of nations today have some degree of Western culture which keeps a semblance of civilization alive in them.

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