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Beethoven & MidEast Success

Reader comment on item: You Need Beethoven to Modernize

Submitted by H. Shamir (United States), Dec 24, 2005 at 12:05

Commenting on the orignal Pipes article "You Need Beethoven to Modernize":

E'had ha'Am analyzed the whole scene 3-4 generations ago, and came up with the best yet explanation for what happens when cultures clash. By "whole scene" I mean not only music, but also technology, literature, cultic activites, mythologies, dress mode, warfare and peacefare methods, i.e. all elements that constitute a particular civilization.

E'had ha'Am recognized the difference between Emulation and Copying. Emulation is taking elements of the "other" culture and adopting it while adapting it to your own, thus generating a new and competing version. Examples are Japan vs the West, China, India, etc., all having in common a strong culture of their own with deep roots and enduring vitality. Copying on the other hand, is the taking of elements of the other culture and aping them without considering rhyme nor reason, being concerned solely with the appearances. An example is what was called Levantinization, the adoption by MidEasterners (Arabs, Egyptians, Turks, Iranians, etc) of European modes of dress, military uniforms, languages, and more, with attempts at adopting technologies, but with very little adaptation.

This latter is what the mullahs remember of the influence of the west upon them, and wisely reject it. However, not having read E'had ha'Am they have no idea that Emulation could exist and how to go about it. Inasmuch as in-depth own culture is required for Emulaton to succeed, the MidEasteners may not have sufficient to succeed even if they tried. Hence it is fear of failure that drives the mullahs. If the fear is well founded, then truly, truly indeed, their alternatives are only war or suicide.

Quite sad.
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