Occidentalism, Essay Example
Occidentalism is a term derived by a critic, humanist, theorist, and professor Edward Said, who in early 1970s published a phenomenal book called “Orientalism” in which he confronts the difficult question of Orientalism and Occidentalism and the reason why they are there and how they explain the human kind (1). These terms take more of a stereotypical and racist approach. Occidentalist is a term that commonly refers to the people of the West. West does not particularly refer to the side but to the people who are more developed and industrialized in Europe and America than Middle Eastern countries. It is also a way to dehumanize or treat these people with a feeling of hate or disgust, as if to say that they are more humans than the people of Middle East. These people are treated like second class citizens and do not seem like the proper people to have personal friendship with.
“Occidental City” is an important concept in defining, compare and contrasting industrialized cities that are located mostly in the Western countries, in particular Europe and North America. Occidental Cities commonly have magnificently built buildings, high-story buildings, and is populated predominantly by white-skinned individuals who live a upper-middle and upper class life and their houses and apartments look quite Westernized. It is important to note that Occidental City does not seek to praise itself per se but also degrades the existence of other cities that are located in “Eastern” countries that is commonly referred in contemporary literature known as third-world countries. Occidental Cities define economy of that country or nation that live a well of life but they unfortunately degrade the cities of third-world countries.
The “Heroes and Merchants” of this world are surprisingly the same people of the same continent with some slight differences. Those differences, however, make up a huge difference when spoken on a more of a theoretical level. It is more appropriate to start with Merchants: they are the typical Western Europeans who feel like buying and selling is the ultimate goal and there is no idealistic approach to this world but simply the materialistic business-like approach. The Heroes, on the other hand were the people of Germanic descent who felt that the world had a much more meaning to it than just simply buying and selling. (2) There was an ultimate idealistic goal for them and a much crucial meaning to this life. Now when adding the theory of Occidentalism I believe that there is a connection which is that it is in this case the Germans who feel like they are the Occidents of this world and they compare the rest of the Europeans with the Middle Easterners. They degrade others for not having a more theoretical approach to this life.
The main features that are included in “Mind of the West”, include the phenomena that Occidentalism is opposed to ‘the mind of the West’, in particular against its science and rationalism. It is clear here that the aversion against the ‘mind of the West’ consists of a hostility against the Enlightenment-borne phenomena of modern science and rationalism. Here the authors incriminate all romanticists who regret the Entzauberung der Welt, as potential Occidentalists. Elsewhere, T.S. Elliot’s Choruses from ‘The Rock’ is cited, where Elliot’s annoyance with the godlessness of the ever-growing city of London, suddenly becomes suspect. In the same manner , Dostoevsky’s depiction of a scientist West is drawn into the odious sphere of Occidentalism. These notions (and dismissals) of a rigidly rationalist, soulless West are not far from radical Islamist views of the West – that is, if we follow Margalit and Buruma – as they make the analogy to try and strengthen their thesis.
It is important to note that in “The Wrath of God” the Spanish were the expeditionary group who were seeking to conquer tall those occupied lands, occupied by Indians. This is itself a way of exploring Occidentalism where one can see how the Spanish in this case are the Occidents who feel that the Indians are 2nd class human beings in this world. Also, with this concept they further dehumanize the Indians. But as one can notice in “The Wrath of God” the Indian couples do try to resist but their attempt fails greatly. Here one can see how the West actually looks at the people of the “East”, or otherwise known as the Orientals .
The revolution that was discussed in “The Seeds of Revolution” is regarding the American Revolution where they discuss the issues of Patriots and Loyalists. This chapter also implies the universal awareness that British and U.S. military intervention liberated Western Europe from Nazism, and most anti-imperialists would concede that this was a good thing, but few are willing to acknowledge the implications of this for the anti-imperialist paradigm. External military intervention by Western ‘imperial’ powers helped to ensure the victory of the American Revolution; the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire; the triumph of Italian unification; the liberation of Poland and Finland from Russia and the South Slavs from the Habsburg Empire.
Said, Edward, Orientalism, 1978, Vintage Books, pages 13-16
Walters, Paul, Of Me chants and Heroes, 2008, Macmillan
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