Friday, October 2, 2009

The Division

From the reading, I found the points about division between "modern world" and "old world" to be the most interesting. In many cases Hobsbawn makes incredibly basic, though undeniably substantial, comparisons between these two "worlds". I believe that he ties it all in wonderfully with industrialization and how it adversely effected the less advanced cultures. This is discussed at great length throughout the introduction to the book, and I think all of it sets up nicely for (what I hope to be) an interesting read.

I found Hobsbawm's point about wealth and relativity incredibly enlightening. In particular, he highlight's a very valid point. If a man is rich in his own company, yet simply a common man in another, what then are his riches really worth? In another country, his wealth is common. In the grand scheme of things, he really has no worth. Relativity shows up just how meaningless money/wealth can be, which further highlights the division between the old and new world. Specifically, we see the new world industrializing, embracing capitalism, and believing their system to be supreme. So they try to spread these ideals and beliefs to other countries; judging (perhaps this is too strong of a word, forgive me it's 3am) them based on their wealth, or rather, lack there of.

The unfortunate part of this occurrence is that it fails to take into account their art, culture, food, or in general their "relative" riches. It discounts those riches, because they are not in the same proportion of those in the new world. Thus, the divide. It is not that the old world was pointless, crude, and unimportant; but rather it's beauty and "wealth" was in that of a different form- culture, art, architecture, etc. I think it is really interesting to think about exactly how some of our ideals were spread and that, in reality, it was all relative to what we believe. This is kind of like what my first blog was about, in terms of how history was taught. Because, we were taught that the new world showed them the ways of modernity. In reality, it was forced upon them, because the new world had weaponized modernity whilst the old world found reverence in antiquity.

I wonder, how would things be different now if modernization had not been pushed so quickly onto these ancient societies?

1 comment:

  1. Well without modernization, things would have almost certainly been different. Look how much things have changed over the last several hundred years in human civilization. Modernization changes the lifestyles of the once hunter/gatherer or trader to the manufacturer, the machinist. This institution of modern technology and skill allowed civilizations to transform into new entities. Without the presentation of modernization however, this would have never been possible.