The West and the Rest

This is how the whole of history is often presented, both in Europe and its cultural extensions and in those figuring outside the abstract realm of “the West”. The whole history is a purposeful linear progression towards the elevation of the West to its rightful place, the prominence. It is a picture largely formed since the Enlightenment, or actually since the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Colonialism. It is thus a direct result of the European (economic) success, the great success which justified and continues to justify everything. In this way, history is narrated in a way very close to the “History of Salvation”.

The History of Salvation is the supposed historical narrative of the Old Testament and its post facto continuation in the New Testament. That is the narrative which starts history from the creation of Adam and the Original Sin and the exile of Adam and Eve from Eden. The rest of human history is a slow progression towards salvation and finding penance for the Original Sin. This is presented as the coming of Jesus who sacrificed himself for humanity and freed it from the bounds of sinfulness. This is essentially a story of success: human beings sinned, they struggled through it, and they came out clean and sinless. It is also the story of a mission: since the Original Sin was forgiven, it is the duty of every righteous Christian to bring the Good News to the rest of the humanity who do not know about it (or most likely, don’t accept it).

The same story of success is then applied to the course of “real” history. Human history starts from the “Classical” civilisations of Greece and Rome (those are the only ones that matter to the European history, and Europeans created “history” as a subject anyway). The “Fall of the Roman Empire” at the hands of the Barbarian Hordes (Germans) constitutes the sin, continued through the conquest of the rest of the Roman territories (Terra Sacra of the physical world) by the Muslims and the other saracens and barbarians. The Renaissance, the Englishtenment, and the Intellectual Revolution are vehicles through which the values of the “Classical Cultures” are restored and through which the sin (of the loss of the supposed Roman prominence) has been repented successfully!

It is easy, following this narrative, to justify colonialism, imperialism, the New World Order, and the Message of Democracy as the missions of the righteous to bring the “Good News” to the people who have not heard it or don’t know about it. So, why are we worried?

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