Monday, 14 April 2014

Clash versus fusion and synthesis

     "Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap."

These lines by the novelist Hermann Hesse were written in his book Steppenwolf nearly a century ago. The idea of clash of civilizations has also remained prevalent in recent years. It was popularized by Samuel P. Huntington in late 1990s. Many people still believe that their culture, religion or way of life is under threat by the opposing forces. Fears of modernization and new technologies are likewise common. 

Although there is no doubt that every civilization and time period has its unique characteristics. However, the notion that conflict or overlapping between cultures, creeds or distinct eras would result in human sufferings can’t be true in broader sense. In my view, these are the intersections where ideals, thoughts, morals, beliefs and norms get challenged. Without these collisions, growth in human thought will be hampered and stagnation would ensue. At these boundaries, new ideas take root, synthesis is achieved and flowers grow.

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