Culture is the representation of the totality of all socially conveyed or learned mannerisms, views beliefs ad interactions that result from human work and activity. The cultures traditions and historical concepts of the Middle East are characterised as by a distinct sense of variety that stems from a whirlwind of customs and traditions that solidified long before the industrial and agrarian revolution.
There has been little if any attempt to expose the cultural pollution that has over the years consumed the foundation of this ancient cultural base. Like all other societies, the Middle Eastern culture suffers a great challenge of changing trends and mannerisms. This inevitable state of affairs calls to the attention to the value and relevance of these traditions and modes of practice (Fawcett p 376).
Aside from the religious fundamentalist debate on purity of culture, I will interrogate the cultural pollution in the Middle East based on a comparative stand between the older and younger generation in as far as materialism, religiosity, and attitude towards change in technology, gender roles and the environment.
The sole vehicle in which culture is passed on is through generation change. The foundations of culture are the individuals since culture is perpetrated by the individual. I will therefore expose the elements and perspectives in the young generation, that have allowed for pollution of culture as compared with the older generations methods and perspectives of cultural preservation.
Once upon a time, men and women would follow their guided herds through the desserts ferrying goods and transporting commodities such as slaves garments skins and food. The Middle East was rich with activity as its population majored on middlemen jobs (Lerner pp 466). In the process, the true wealth was built on their animals and slaves that were a symbol of pride. As it were, the Middle East society was a transportable and flexible entity and therefore had little time to invest in areas such as real estate or land.
In effect, the true value of wealth was quantified in terms of animals and jewelry objects of which were movable and easily disposable. It follows that such a society will also value the human as an asset. Given the background and setup of the slave trade, the older society culturally valued the number of children and slaves that one acquired or held. This theme is well emphasized by the biblical stories of dynasties and kings that put these material possessions as the focus of wealth.
Times have however changed, new methods of transportation have been installed and slave trade abolished. New ideas have been born into the society and the rather materialistic society has begun to ease up to the modern contemporary trends. The new generation has dismissed the cultural kingship and value of wealth and replaced it with an aggressive sense of competition. The respect that accrued to the value holders has gradually grown out to become an avenue for competition.
Bluntly put the Middle East is considered as the cradle of civilizations. The world’s three largest religions -Judaism, Christianity and Islam- also have origins in the Middle East. The religious capacity of the region is not restricted to these three.
In fact, the great variety of religions in the region has up to date been a source of conflict for a long period. Understanding the region’s religious affiliations inadvertently amounts to understanding the region as a whole in its particulars and preferences (Lerner pp 466). The value attached to religion transcends all other social cultural and political factors.
The Middle East culture is religion driven and has been so since its early days. This has been passed on from the older generations through to the new and coming generations. It has been embedded in their daily lives and forms a fundamental requirement for membership in the society. This is unlikely to change in the near future since the influence and value attached to religion forms the foundation of all other cultural and social phenomenon.
Attitudes towards technology and change
The appetite for technology in the Middle East has always fallen behind the modernity and world trends. Historically the conservative culture of the population leaves a slim edge on which the base for technology stands.
The older generation therefore often fell off the graph in as far as technology is concerned in the hope of maintaining a pure and historically correct mannerism and trends. They are rather justified since the changes in technology stand on the feet of culture and more often than not end up toppling these cultures (Lerner pp 466).
This however will not survive long since there has been a great paradigm shift that has seen t eh newer and younger generation invests a lot of time and money in technology. The world has kept an envious eye at the sudden interest if the Middle Eastern people in the technology sector. Of even greater concern and interest is their sudden crave for advanced warfare technology.
What people think imagine or conceive of others is contemptible to their religious preferences. The Middle East is inflated with religious driven societies that perceive of social phenomenon from the religious point of view. Seemingly, the role of women in as far as religion is concerned has been belittled and marginalized to reproduction and housewifery.
This perception stems from the religious provisions for this status one that has been cordially followed by generations on end. The new generation however has bowed down to the feminist movement to create room for the women in education economics social life and yet to be, politics. This shift has taken a lot of martyrdom owing to the harsh rules as against defiance of the religious and social provisions of the role of women.
Before the industrial revolution, the Middle East was a barren region with endless tracks of sand. There was little to tell of the barren region of herdsmen and nomads. Consequently, there was little if any interest in environmental concerns. The mid 20th century saw a great transformation of the region with more interest being given to environmental exploitation.
Thanks to industrialization, the world developed an appetite for energy that was good news to the Middle Eastern people. The discovery of oil and other forms of energy created a sudden interest in the region that led to reclamation of the dessert land and the development of industries. The agrarian revolution saw the transformation of the region into a hub of activity.
These developments however were at the expense of the environment. The new generation has however responded to the call for environmental awareness and conservation. The region is conscious of global warming and has made attempts at reducing their contribution to this crisis. However, this has not been fully embraced since most of the nations still remain at was and continues to develop non-environmental friendly weapons.
Undeniably, the pressure point for cultural pollution lies with the change in generational attitudes towards certain aspects of culture. The attitudes and appetites of the young generation have acted to motivate further the rate at which the culture in Saudi Arabia is being polluted.
Like economic pollution, cultural pollution is not caused by capitalism and its ideas. The market relationship in capitalism has sustained culture through a host of cultural resources embedded in personal traits obvious basic civility and benevolence. This has however suffered the destructive influence of the welfare.
In conclusion, cultural pollution is not fuelled by capitalism or such ideas but rather the breakdown of capitalism amidst the absence of stable markets (Bidinotto pp 1-3). The simplistic approach has been to lay the blame of the pollution on the toes of economics and politics and yet the pollution is as a result of a gradual process of intellectual corruption that has since defeated the preserves and fortresses of culture.
The vehicle that transports culture in the Saudi Arabian pretext has suffered the inevitable damage of the welfare state. The safeguards of culture have been further crippled by the recent turn of events in the liberal idea of capitalism otherwise referred to as the laissez-faire capitalism that has untied the short leash that was allowed to culture. This has let in the ignorant and arrogant nihilist perspectives that have worsened the already damaged culture.
Bidinotto, Robert. Cultural pollution: a matter of principle. (2011) retrieved from web.
Fawcett, Louise. International Relations of the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.pp 376
Lerner, Daniel. The passing of traditional society: Modernizing the Middle East. New York: Free Press. 1958. pp 466