Western Values, Again (1)

This post originates from a debate I had with Falcon, Ashish and especially Rob and regarding: values, the West, the Islamic extremists etc. First Rob replied to a comment of mine saying I raised too many issues so it’d be too arduous to fully accept the challenge. But the same I can say of his post (an even more complex reply to my comment lol), so I’ll just consider some topics mentioned by him (plus Ashish’s and Falcon’s remarks) and will talk freely without too much organization, being a bit tired after a long work trip (and hoping I won’t say too many silly things lol).

Is Decadence Advancing (or Just Old Age)?

Western leaders are talking so much about values. But where is the line between what they really feel and political propaganda? I am referring to the Tony Blair’s speech quoted by Rob but this of course is not only true of Western leaders. This is also true of almost any leader. Although on the whole I see some decadence advancing in our part of the world, which might correspond to the natural cycle of civilizations, more or less like what happened to the civilization of ancient Rome. I mean, Western leaders can try to propose their societies (and their values) as models, but what are the real ideas we are exporting around the world?

Just an example taken from today’s entertainment field. At least two movie industries are now flooding the world with their films: Hollywood and Bollywood, the former selling all over the world, the latter selling all over Asia (Muslim countries included) but now starting to be appreciated outside Asia as well. I may be wrong but Bollywood moviegoers seem to entertain themselves in a much healthier way, while American movies (not to mention US video games) are now so painted with blood, stupidities and disgusting violence (apart from some technological perfection which in any case is not much influential over the quality of content) that the final educational result on the public tends in my view towards new forms of barbarism (see above a view of the Hollywood boulevard: source).

Blind Hatred plus Moral Disgust?

I abhor the Islamic fascists, as you call them, Rob. And I am not neutral. Quite the contrary. These repugnant people have made the world much worse than it was before, in my opinion. But if we do not understand that many of them are also motivated by some sort of moral disgust towards some ways of the West, we miss an important point.

Take Bali, Indonesia. The islamofascists hit Kuta twice in 2002 and 2005 with some bombs and killed hundreds of people, mostly Westerners. I have been to Bali a few times and I believe it is not by chance they hit the Kuta beach area so much.

Bali is the only Hindu island in a country, Indonesia, mostly Muslim. This was symbolic to them, not many doubts about it, but I think a main point was also they hit right a place in Bali (Kuta) where the Westerners most succeeded in totally corrupting the local people who are now selling themselves in various ways for money, while in other parts of this great island the Balinese retain their unbelievable dignity and their incredibly refined cultural values, yes, so refined that even peasants look like princes (look above at the pure beauty of these two Balinese dancers: source).

Although by this I do not mean the West has no values, and the non-West has. And we are not the only ones to use values as ideological weapons, as I said before. Ashish, this young Indian blogger, puts it very synthetically: “Religion [and any idealism, I think he means, MoR] is merely the vehicle, the true goal is world supremacy. Does the west prevail over the east or is it otherwise? … The bosses only care about the profits [oil for the west, power for the clerics], be it the West or the Middle East. Religion is merely a way to get yourself an army, because nobody fights as ruthlessly as a fanatic!” Very well said indeed.

A comment from another Indian blogger also in his twenties, Falcon, who writes: “Let’s face it, a large no. of Islam followers have their rationality almost blinkered by faith. They may be very humble and polite and would gladly discuss religion and point out its greatness and fallacies but try touching Islam and they get defensive.”

Well, it is true, also some Mulsim students of mine behaved like that. But I remember things were a bit different before September 11. What I believe is that, especially the new Muslim generation is living like a generational wave. That terrible, unbelievable terrorist attack (nothing cannot be compared to it) has unfortunately fascinated too many young minds. Sept 11 is not the only factor, but the development of things in Turkey (once the most secularized Muslim Nation) is very instructive in my view. How long will this woeful wave last? Hard to say. It will none the less pass away, I am sure of it (or is it my hope and ideals blinkering me now?).

Left & Right

You quote intellectuals from the left, Rob, thinking it can make some difference to me. It doesn’t. The left is only my origin and I do not belong to any faction any more. It is a complicated topic not to be discussed here, but I try to reason with my mind only, not caring where good (to me) ideas come from and in my view what really counts has very little to do with this dichotomy.

For example, words such as reactionary elements do not mean anything to me. And they do not mean anything to the new generations. Listen again to Falcon commenting this post of mine: “Could somebody explain to me what exactly reaction mean? What was the action we did that we are facing a reaction?”. He then continues, going maybe towards some sort of relativism: “As long as there will be a feeling, that one set of ideals and values are better than the others there is bound to be a struggle for supremacy. Islam can teach us a lot things, just like any other religion. The only question is: are we ready to learn?”

Man of Roma

(to be continued)

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Bollywood moviegoers seem to entertain themselves in a much healthier way,
    Heh, with more heroines shedding clothes and kissing than the entire plot of the film. Thats the trend but there have been good movies too [Rang de Basanti] plus Bollywood is the king of comedies. :D

    I’ll comment on the rest of the post on part 2. :)

  2. Hi MoR, here is my answer to your answer to my answer … ;-)

  3. @Ashish
    What can be so wrong about chicks shedding clothes and kissing lol. In US movies they do not shed clothes so much (because America is puritanical as regards sex) but they are so full of perverted violence and sadism one feels like puking. And we tend to imitate them, violence rising in our country too. Rang de Basanti? I’ll have to find it. Thanks for the tip, dude.

  4. @Wind Rose Hotel
    Hi Rob, my answer to your answer to my answer to your answer… will arrive in your blog (as a comment) as soon as I can. Ciao ;-)

  5. Well I spend my money to watch a story, all these films have is some lousy story and the emphasis on chicks and a hot song. :/ I’m better off watching my favourite mindless comedies than soft porn. :P

    Rang De Basanti is a GREAT film, but its only watchable one time. You’ll be able to find it mostly, since its quite new. If you like comedies, try finding Hera Pheri or Hungama, two of the best Indian comedies.. but yeah they’ll be harder to find. :)

  6. @Ashish
    finally some Indian guy that gives me advice on Bollywood movies!! I asked Poonam so many times ….. ;-) (but I’ll admit she wrote two posts on that).

    I’m better off watching my favourite mindless comedies than soft porn
    Hey, what d’ya mean, that you prefer porn the hard way??? ;-) ah ah ah. Kidding, what I’m saying is that on the whole, despite any flaw one can notice, I do not see such decadence in Bollywood and vomiting stuff …
    I’m referring mainly to violence, but not only; as far as porn or sex, I have written posts on sex at the times of the Romans. What I find not good in today’s depiction of sex is that it most of the time shows how much we are repressed. Porn for example is degrading, while sex should be a joy. Something is then wrong, and this fits in this picture of decadence (I read somewhere that in Egypt they have recently forbidden even kissing in movies… Islam can be strict, this seems more a reaction to nowadays movie trends etc.). Very difficult topic in any case.

  7. @Ashish
    I will watch Rang De Basanti, although I am more for mindless comedies in this period, since I think too much.

  8. finally some Indian guy that gives me advice on Bollywood movies!!
    Well you got the wrong man, I rarely watch movies. :P

    Well the thing is, the clothes shedding is mainly the focus of the film… which is bad. Most youth go to watch these movies to see the girls strip.

    I will watch Rang De Basanti, although I am more for mindless comedies in this period, since I think too much.
    Well then I’m your man. I rarely watch serious stuff [unless its good] because it tries to emulate life. Same reason I hate “real-life” games because I play these games to get away from life and these just make me do it one more time. :D

  9. @Ashish
    Gosh, an example of Indian labirinthic mind? :-)
    Ok, then I nominate, you and Poonam, OMORAFBMC: Official Man Of Roma’s Advisors for Bollywood Mindless Comedies :-)

    Boss of Man of Roma

  10. [...] Finally, a third discussion among Rob and MoR (in his and in MoR’s blog, 1 & 2) and Indian Ashish and Falcon. It dealt with this void here in the West which we perceive as far as [...]

  11. [...] Violence in the Mind Western Values, Again (1) Published [...]


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