Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Identity (part 3) -Deconstructing common beliefs about Culture and Historical Narrative

Dearest brothers and sisters,

Individual regional interactions and individual cultural interactions are centered around and based around romanticized myths and artificially created cultures that are drenched in emotions and folklore built to emit strong passionate emotions from the masses by those that created them.  Often times, what is left out from the myths that are perpetuated throughout any regional culture is the historical truth in the regional reality.  Over romanticized myths hide the fact, and gloss over the fact, that regional influence and regional ties have not appeared out of nothing but in fact have always spread over time.  Slowly, bit by bit, from land to land, over a long distance of time.  

This slow precipitation which spreads from one root base area and goes outwards also leads to fragmentation from its root source (ex: Roman's Latin Empire spreading over time and evolving into many similar languages today such as Italian, French, Spanish, etc.).  This fragmentation causes much differences to appear over time especially in dialect and language.  In laymen's term, it is similar to the children's game of broken telephone.  The more people you get involved the more the story slightly changes.  This is the same thing when it comes to cultures, regions, dialects, and languages.  Over time, cultures and regions lose their root base.  Over time, cultures and regions mix in with other groups who are also in the surrounding area who they trade with for survival and interact with and thus form a new language between the two parties.  Over time, this economic culture spreads into the two cultures and a hybrid, new, amalgamated culture is formed (ex: slang developed in the late 80s and early 90s from the inner cities of urban areas which spread into the mainstream of mass culture in the early 2000s). Though the original source still remains intact and is much stronger than the mixed culture that is newly forming, the newly formed culture which now exists is much different than the older cultures it appeared out from.  

Regional cultures are also formed and entrenched due to wars and reaction to wars which helps infuse, consolidate, and create culture and cultural identity.  Regions and groups based on religious faith such as the Sikhs, the Jews, and Muslims who were the minority during the time of their identity creation carved their identity by forming it out from the differences of those they fought against.  Trying not to be incorporated and assimilated into the larger whole of those that they fought against (who were trying to spread deep into their regions in order to control lands and accrue a strong tax base), a new identity was formed Identity, especially regional identity, though small in scope is exactly what allowed the "divide and conquer" strategy of the Colonial powers to take control of vasts amounts of lands they did not have the army or personnel to ever control.  This "divide and conquer" strategy allowed "culture" to enmesh with regional identity in order to allow colonial powers to ensure differences would be created so regional groups would never work with other regional groups and overthrow their rule.

Colonization and the Industrial Revolution both augmented and entrenched Europe’s dominant position in the world, forever shaping cultural identity.  In fact, mental colonization has not been completely eradicated and many South Asian societies are still struggling to break free from their mental colonization created by their colonial masters who used regional differences to create cultural differences and create toxicity in the masses they controlled.  In fact, lands were carved on maps and countries were made out of nothing by Superpowers after Wars.  Empires were dismantled and instead of occupying them, Superpowers often picked Proxy leaders and Satellite leaders to run their affairs for them.  The puppets only duty was to ensure the masses remained loyal to their leader and government in charge while keeping the structure the colonial master had created in place.

In fact, symbolic mythology and symbolic stories are used to foster a culture and an identity, while ethnocentric beliefs are created through the spreading of manufactured rites and rituals by the rulers in charge of a populace that they govern over.  This is done to preserve power and control over the masses and to be able to function properly due to the taxes collected from the masses that they rule over.  No governing body can function without being able to earn taxes from the populous that they protect and govern over.  This allows rulers to ensure that regional music, regional arts, regional rituals, and regional languages are celebrated as being "cultural" when it is needed to be politicized in order to differentiate from the other regions around them in order to maintain autonomy and identity.

Over time, this cultural identity becomes entrenched and cannot be separated from ethnocentric and egocentric views. The national populous is then pushed into war, imperial conquests, consolidation of land through battles fought, and conquest of enemies in order to achieve the preservation of a culture that also fuses further patriotism, regionalism, and nationalism.  Rulers ensure that the historical truth is lost and myth replaces historical truth.  What is lost is that Empires and rulers such as Spain created whole cultures during the "Age of Discovery" in Latin America.  That slavery created whole cultures in the Caribbeans whether it was Black slaves or indentured Indians leaving India to the Caribbeans. That Colonization created all the cultural identities you see existing today.  My brothers and sisters, mathematical truths cannot be varied in cultures, moral truths and values can. Conquest and rulers influenced not only the language you speak but also what you identify with.

In truth my brothers and sisters, "Birth lotteries" choose where you are placed and what you inherit.  When people identify with, "My culture", "my nationality", "my class", "my caste", "my religion" (whatever it may be) they are consolidating the differences rulers created when taking power over groups and peoples.  When they identify with an egocentric and ethnocentric view, an individual  hands power over to the elite who created these titles and function in order to "divide and conquer" the populations of the world.  

What you miss out on, when you take the historical perspective out from the cultural and regional myths that leaders perpetuate, is that you identify with only a small fraction of your whole identity.  If you believe that is your sole identity, then it becomes your sole identity.  Rituals and rites embedded into culture are not your whole identity unless you choose it to be.  Change even within yourself has profound implications and impacts on your life and the choices you make.

Regional dialects and cultural differences are fostered by the entertainment sector (Bollywood, Hollywood, etc.).  Ads, the media, and movies foster nationalism and culture onto the masses of any given area.  These devices create a way to act and think in society which is accepted by the ruling elite and the masses.  You then believe your country is more prominent and a bigger player on the world stage than it really is (ex: Canada's role and place in the world.  In truth, we have abided by almost everything asked of us by the U.S.A. and the U.K. since we have become a nation.  Serving their interests even as a "Peacemaker" on the world stage).

In the ancient past, when a ruler converted, the masses converted.  In the more recent past, once a country was occupied they picked up the language and customs of their new rulers.  Now, the media and social institutions allow for it to occur ever so subtlety.  Therefore, culture is ever changing, never constant.  it changes to what the elite need it to be.  Change will always be from the top down, not the bottom up when it comes to identity.  Intellectuals will help the rulers create an identity which they will repeat through their social devices (media, ads, entertainment sector) "ad nauseaum" until the change is accepted and embraced by the masses.
Sub groups, sub cultures, fringe groups, and fringe cultures have always existed inside Empires and Civilizations.  They have existed inside every city and town.  In fact, it is hard to dissolve sub groups and sub cultures because often rulers found it unnecessary unless it was subversive to the culture as a whole that they are trying to create.  Often rulers monitor fringe groups and sub cultures and if the times became necessary, especially during turbulent economic times, these groups would be blamed for various things.   Often times, the conquered people were incorporated into the bigger society at large in order to hold the society in check and kept in place in order to have a large tax base for the rulers to feed off.  The past is always viewed as being harsher towards minorities than it really was.  Another myth over perpetuated presently in mainstream society.  Minorities never lost power completely especially since keeping them in power meant keeping the economy running and keeping their skills in society (which was hard to replace and could not be done immediately).

"Along with the Pony Express being a myth, the image of the,  'Wild,Wild West' enshrined in the movies is the creation of the 'dime novels', lurid sensationalist tales encouraged by eastern industrialists of the 1800s to stem the flow of workers leaving the East to homestead the West following the Louisiana Purchase.  In actual fact, the 'Wild West', everyone was armed primarily to deal with snakes and to shoot runaway horses.  Life was a lot safer than the Western cities of the time (or even today). The reason the gunfight at the OK Corral became so famous is that it was a rare event!  Today it would hardly register in the news above the din of drive-by shootings in gun-controlled neighborhoods".

Political leaders will always allow the entertainment sector, the media, ads, and social institutes to vilify leaders and whole cultures that they are trying to overtake economically or politically. The vilification of leaders will often take infantile projections, such as a midget Napoleon in Loony Tune cartoons (which by the way, subconsciously shapes your mind at a young age).  Realize that leaders such as Napoleon, Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Qaddafi all had a purpose and were manipulated by economic situations and the elite.  A country, a region, a culture, and its leaders will never be free because they are all built on myths and funded by money and maintain economic situations that they do not control.  A leader never controls the country he rules over, the economy controls it.  The leaders decision will always be influenced by his economy and since the elite will always control money and therefore control the economy, they will always be one step ahead of the leader, any leader, who happens to present himself in myth or folklore to the masses he controls and directs.

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