Some people are subject to a certain delicacy of passion, which makes them extremely sensible to all accidents of life, and gives them a lively joy upon every prosperous event, as well as a piercing grief, when they meet with misfortune and adversity. Favours and good offices easily engage their friendship; while the smallest injury provokes their resentment. Any honour or mark of distinction elevates them above measure; but they are sensibly touched with contempt. People of this character have, no doubt, more lively enjoyments, as well as more pungent sorrows, than men of cool and sedate tempers: but , I believe, when every thing is balanced, there is no one, who would not rather be of the latter character, were he entirely master of his own discipline (David Hume, 1804).
In 60 Posts I discussed cultural issues relating to developments in our world community, issues such as the role of passion in our interpersonal relationships, of freedom and justice, of the instincts that affect those freedoms, of the Arab Spring now sadly turned into a severe winter, of corruption and all things unnatural in our midst. The essay was wide-ranging and discursive, arising from my travels across continents and worlds, from first to third and back again repeatedly. How do we differ and why is it we have diverged culturally when we are all essentially the same physically.
In my discussions I referred to many investigators, both social and scientific including Frans de Waal, Richard Dawkins, Sarah Hrdy and many others in the eminent professions. The basis of my essay was principally observations and down-home conclusions deriving from those observations. In these 30 More Posts I revisit many of the notions I raised in 60 Posts, looking at them from a different perspective, tempting myself to look at the flip-side of some of the earlier arguments and perhaps coming to a different conclusion.
The current world political, religious and resultant cultural dynamic is constantly changing. We now (mid-2014) face the humanly degrading and amoral actions of a group of villains who call themselves ISIS. 10 years ago it was the Taliban in Afghanistan who may still be holding belligerent strategies up their sleeves after the Americans move out. The crisis is even driving sworn enemies in America and Iran into bed together. We answer the call to arms but I believe we must also try to understand the thinking, the mind-frame, the ‘intentional stance’, as Daniel Dennett of some of these groups and perhaps engage in some self-reflection to find the underlying reasons for the insurgencies, Tony Blair notwithstanding.
Are the cultural differences irreconcilable and are we only reduced to toughing it out? I suppose, like a belligerent school child, or the teenager who goads his parents and teachers, he will only be pushing the boundaries to find the limit of what we can take. In this way he may begin to understand his own limits. Some teenagers never find them and become cultural belligerents with guns. Where does the answer lie? I don’t really know but it doesn’t hurt to do some exploring. Welcome to this blog.