Ever heard of "tiki"? It's a particular stylised and romanticized view on Polynesian culture.
It's also a highly biased and limited view on the times back then, seeing it through the perceptive filters of art, movies, music of the times in America.
And this, forgets the great variety of ways that life back then was most often short and brutal, with people living no longer than 30-50 years.
This is an easy way we still mostly see other more primitive cultures around us on the planet: pure and closer to god/spirit and nature as a choice rather than the opposite.
This is also why, when we look at these cultures faltering, we turn around and blame ourselves and our culture for their failure, believing that along the way we dragged them into this failure. As such, we believe ourselves to be regressing while seeing them as being more evolved, while it is clear that they are clearly as a culture doing their best to rise above their circumstances while we face our own shame and try to return to a time when we were pure, regardless of whether this purity ever existed.
In this sense, we see colonization (which we ONLY perceive as European expansion though colonization has been happening since the dawn of time) as evil and anything other than colonization as pure and innocent with a wistful tinge of romantic desire for belonging to it.
"Rather, Ken saw that we begin our development in a state of pre-differentiated fusion or absorption with the environment, unable to distinguish where we end and where the rest of the world begins. We then begin to differentiate ourselves from our surroundings, dropping boundaries between self and other, inside and outside, mind and body, and so on.
This stage of differentiation was typically seen as the cause of all our sin and suffering—we ate the apple from the Tree of knowledge, learned to discern good from evil, and promptly got ourselves banned from a mythic Paradise. But according to this new evolutionary view, eating the apple was not a step down; it was a step up from Eden—a transition from the pre-differentiated fusionof the animal mind to the differentiated self-awareness, self-reflection, and capacity for choice that defines the human spirit, and only then to a state of genuine integration with the world and with nature—a true Enlightenment."

 2020-09-17   Admin

(4) Comments

Trevor Getsla

17th September 2020

All very spot on.It also fuels a fallacy:"Appeal to the ancient"= it is good/right because it is old.

Dylan Smeder

17th September 2020

There's a delicate balance between not romanticizing pre-colonial culture but also not validating the colonization. It seems like most people go down one fallacy or the other. Off the top of my head, the way I'd put it is pre-colonial was different. Not better, not worse. There are a lot of people who would argue this is better now but really that's arguing that westernization is better. There are other people who have fantasies about the past and don't see pre-colonial people as whole and instead create this fantasy and they don't see how the fantasy is dehumanizing. If someone's ancesstors were not colonists. If ones anscestors were not going to a country specifically because it was a colony and "civilized" then what they might be saying is that the colony killed off 90% of our people. They might be saying that their anscestors we're brought over on a ship to serve the colony. That colonists ... Countries who were colonized weren't allowed an Adam and Eve moment. They weren't given the space to bite the apple and grow from that knowledge. The apple was forced down their throat by some colonist. No all the colonists were European.

David Pullman

17th September 2020

I like this line of thought, and I see this fallacious romanticization of the ancient or pre-colonial all the time. However, this theory seems to be premised on an assumption that they don't bother proving or even supporting (maybe they do elsewhere), that culture develops along the same trajectory as individual human development. If you accept this as true, then by necessity, every prior civilization will be less mature, and if you go back far enough, cultures will be infantile. But, while technology progresses in one direction, I'm not sure that everything about human society does the same. I'm not saying it doesn't, but I don't rule out the possibility that more primitive cultures may have been superior to ours in many ways. If there are ways that they were superior, then you have to look at why. Was it because they were actually superior, or just that they were smaller and more intimate, or had more resources per capita, etc.

Jeremiah Alfrey

17th September 2020

How about we talk about ways to measure cultural maturity. I would say to the degree each individual feel supported to fully be themselves and can make a life of it is a good measure.

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