Reply To: 26.5.2014 Ancient Futures

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Anonymous # Posted on May 28, 2014 at 14:39

Reply to Yaqi Fu’s answer to the question: “Why was the Ladakh society so vulnerable by Western culture?” from Wenzel

I think that you did a very good analysis of Helena Norberg-Hodge’s intentions when you link her rethorics of localisation, strengthening social bonds, preservation of traditions and critical education towards western cultures to the aim of promoting the “economics of happiness”. I can also understand that you perceive her approach as slightly backward oriented and almost preservativist. This is very important to consider when answering my question.
The term vulnerable I used in my question implies a problem where there might not actually be a problem. It is true, and important to point out, that many cultures are susceptible to influences of other cultures and that this mutual influence is a natural thing. It can benefit a culture, as you said, by broadening their scope of the world and opening them for new technologies, two processes which go hand in hand and facilitate each other. This development poses big challenges to those experiencing it and forces them to quickly adapt and restructure their life and behaviour.
The problem I see is, that many of these changes are new and might appeal fancy to many people, but their effect on social life and individual well being is too negative to be worth the effort. The Ladakh people had most of the things a human being needs for happiness. And they treated nature in a sustainable and caring way. They were resilient to most natural threats known and self-sufficient to a high degree. They had adapted widely to the surrounding systems. The sudden change of these systems and a promise of more however led to an arbitrary development that didn’t really benefit anybody except for those who entered their stage. I think that this was possible because the youth of the Ladakh people was, as youth typically is, especially susceptible for change and new opportunities, as soon as they were there for the taking. Young people are important agents of change.
My question is now, why do we always have to adapt to a new, changing world, when we actually are its agents ourselves? What is the point of it? Can’t we critically look at to what extend something new really benefits the greater part of the world? Whats the point of adapting to the environment of, for exeample, a big city, with concrete sealing almost every single spot, smog, injustice-driven criminality, waste overproduction, overconsumption etc.? Why would I adapt to that? I am a human being, and the world around me has to adapt to my basic needs, not the other way around.
I think that the changes we are seeing are too speedy for a single human being to understand and follow. I think we need to shift down and learn driving, before we might go back on the highway of life.