Saturday, 3 October 2015

What is this thing, Civilization?

Canada, do you know: Europeans started colonizing the Americas around the late 15th century - then, for over 300 years, the French and English systematically slaughtered the indigenous people, in massacres too numerous to cite here.  Later, the Canadian government, in partnership with Anglican, Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, tried to squash whatever remaining indigenous culture was left by forming residential schools and abducting over 150,000 children from their homes to assimilate them into their new world (attempting to 'civilize' the barbarians). These schools were in operation from the 1870's to the 1990's.

In 2015 North America, the collective fear of karma is rearing up.  The flow of immigrants around the planet is vast - different cultures with other ways of doing things are moving in to unfamiliar places. We are afraid of militant groups like Isis, and their harsh interpretation of Shariah Law, coming here, fighting and forcing us into living their ways - Sound familiar?  

Perhaps our insight into humanity has developed enough to realize that we are one family, albeit with various views about life itself.  Yes, some old practices of certain cultures need to be addressed - not by blatant discriminatory voices, rallying the ignorant, but by a path of education and dignity, aiming to teach and inform about inalienable human rights.

A civilized world is not Us (the civilized) versus Them (the uncivilized) - It is a world of different races, creeds and colours, sitting at the table of mutual respect.  In every culture, there are unacceptable habits and dogmas (like female genital mutilation)- Civilization should mean that we are able to weed out those ideologies that do not serve the greater good of human growth and potential.

We are at a time of unlimited information, with the ability to seek out whatever it is we want to know, whenever we feel like it.  We are no longer tethered to textbooks, 6 o'clock newscasts, and schools of thought forcing their way into our psyche by those who wish to control and standardize.  It is apparent now that old civilizations, including ours, are crumbling under the weight of wisdom and compassion felt by many from all different walks of life - and those who do not recognize it will continue to blame and fear and divide themselves from others. 

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