Like others people in the Gulf have been influenced by the West. However, it is the financial prosperity that has brought them closer to western products and technological advancements. This may have increased in recent decades as people have been dragged toward western fashion and trends as they travel there and are influenced by movies.
The West represents a magical and captivating model and there are several reasons why the world looks up to it. At the end of it all though, it is all about exercising personal choices and there is indeed nothing wrong in admiring western civilization.
If we look at the achievements of the West, we realize that they linked to science and philosophy. Institutions that took shape with the renaissance of the 16th century, summed up by French Philosopher Rene Descartes, achieved worldwide acclaim.
Descartes was born hundreds of years ago and his philosophical proposition “I think therefore I am” changed history as it includes the self, intellect and existence. These concepts have dominated the history of western intellectual debates until today.
Despite struggles, civil wars and two world wars, many countries in the West rose from their ravages due to purely scientific temper. We can consider Japan as part of the western community considering it kept up with this development.
Secret of success
Germany, whose cities were destroyed completely, managed to rise again in just 50 years thanks to scientific and social factors. In his book Heritage and Modernity, Critic Mohammed Abed al-Jabri explains Germany’s secret of success and discusses its history and cultural growth.
“The philosophy of history in Germany was an ideological context that reflected Germany’s desire for unity and development. The Germans sought the unity of their disintegrated society and wanted to catch up with and be as developed as other European countries. Then-feudal Germany thus lived that dream at the time. Its philosophers’ look into history was inspired or rather based on their present problems and future aspirations”.
“They looked at history’s development in such a way, which allowed them to justify Germany’s civilization in the past and its absence from the industrial revolution at their present time. They made old civilizations the childhood of humanity, Greek and Roman civilizations the youth of humanity and Germanic civilization the maturity of humanity. A German thinker said history is the total of possible things which have been achieved. This means there are other possibilities which are about to be achieved, and this includes the future Germany,” he wrote.
The western fabric and core have a lot in common on the level of methods and characteristics and this is what pushed the West toward advanced cultural excellenceTurki Aldakhil
Western civilization is a general term, which refers to the rise of Britain, France, Germany and the US. However, each country followed its own path in terms of scientific achievements. This is why we see distinctions among these countries. One country would thus be more skilled while the other would be better in terms of technological development.
This is common due to diverse interests of societies. The western fabric and core have a lot in common on the level of methods and characteristics and this is what pushed the West toward advanced cultural excellence.
Values of civilization
Being influenced by western civilization is vital and is evidence of the interaction with other countries. However, what is more important is discovering the values which this civilization was based on and understanding the philosophies and sciences behind it. By doing so, other societies will benefit more from this influence.
Civilization is much deeper than the magical and captivating achievements of cinemas or fashion or developed cities. These are things, which everyone can see. Searching for the secrets of development and understanding the statements made by literary and intellectual figures and scientists during the transition from the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages, are what alters intellectual structure.
It empowers the passion for knowledge and benefits Arab and Islamic societies, which really need to be inspired by these successful models – and the West has the clearest and most successful model.
We are fully drowned in this western influence but what’s more important is to be preoccupied with understanding the questions that woke up the West.
This article was first published in Al-Bayan on April 05, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.