It can easily be agreed that Western values are universal. But the question is, “Is Western culture superior to other cultures? Let’s find out the answer.
Western culture is considered to be a superior culture by many scholars because a lot of advancements in science, philosophy, mathematics, art, architecture, and literature emerged during this classical period. It means that this culture is advanced. Furthermore, the Western values became symbols of the dominant mentality, which transcended through power and authority.
Read more to find out what gives superiority to the Western culture.
Is Western Culture Superior: The Fundamentals
Western culture encompasses the Americas and Oceania. Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Christian culture have had the most significant influence on Western culture.
The spread of Greek culture into the Hellenistic world of the eastern Mediterranean resulted in a synthesis of Greek and Near-Eastern cultures, as well as significant advances in literature, engineering, and science, as well as providing the culture for the spread of early Christianity and the Greek New Testament. This era overlapped Rome, significantly contributing to law, government, engineering, and political organization.
Notably, Western culture is considered superior because it of diverse artistic, philosophical, literary, and legal themes and traditions. Human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide, and polygamy were also standard practices in pagan societies that Christianity helped to end.
Between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, successive European colonial empires spread Western ways of life and educational methods worldwide. Western culture has shaped philosophy, medieval scholasticism, mysticism, and Christian and secular humanism. Rational thinking also evolved over a long period of change and formation due to Enlightenment experiments and scientific breakthroughs.
Furthermore, political pluralism, individualism, and prominent subcultures or countercultures are tendencies that have come to define modern Western societies and the rising cultural fusion brought on by globalization and migration.
Top Reasons Why Western Culture is Popular Worldwide
Western Culture is distinguished by its philosophic, artistic, literary, and legal themes, and traditions. Just like other cultures, the west embodies a lot of unique characteristics that helped it flourish and stood out— be it in the past or the present. From its literature, art, quality of life, history, and values, the Western culture indeed has plenty to exhibit. What makes the West a dream destination for people from around the globe?
1. The West has a rich history.
By knowing the past, you will find it easier to understand things. The West takes root from thousands of different extraordinary events that influenced our society and our way of living in the present. Once you’re done reading this post, you will have a clear answer to the question, is Western culture superior?
Here are 5 significant periods in the history of the West:
Despite its small size as an ancient civilization, Greece has wielded an influence not just on the development of Western Civilization but also on those of other nations from across the globe. Up to this day, the intellectual accomplishments of the Greeks are evident and are continuously applied, developed, and modified by the modern world. Also, much of our modern science, governance, and school of thought are rooted in the fruits of the labor of Greek Philosophers.
The Rise of the Roman Civilization
Ever used Roman numerals or Latin phrases in school? That’s the counting system and language of the Roman Civilization!
The Roman Empire was established around 500 B.C and lasted for about 500 years. At the height of the Roman Empire, its territories stretched across the entire Mediterranean region. Its culture originated in central Italy and influenced the development of Europe and western civilization.
The Romans, just like the Greeks contributed a lot to our modern society. It also influenced Western Culture as a whole— from its laws, architecture, religion, language, and more.
The Arrival of the Renaissance Period
After the Middle Ages, the rise of the Renaissance period began. Renaissance means Rebirth, as this cultural movement resulted in massive artistic and cultural changes across the European continent. Renaissance artisans revived the once-effaced heritage of the Greeks and Romans. In this era, the invention of printing text, the development, and modification of art techniques, as well as new theories and discoveries in science and astronomy emerged.
The Second Agricultural Revolution
Widely known as the British Agricultural Revolution, it began in the 18th century, around 300 years ago. Major alterations to farming techniques were adopted, including the selective breeding of livestock and systematic crop rotation. Furthermore, this revolution also contributed to raising yields and freed the needed workforce for the industry.
Up to this day, the agricultural techniques developed during this era are still used by our sectors of agriculture.
Emergence of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution changed the industry forever as it opened massive opportunities to mankind. From being used to laborious and manual work, we were introduced to the use of machines!
The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain around 1760. It introduced the control and manipulation of energy. During this era, the manipulation of steam to generate mechanical energy, the development of machinery to reduce human labor and optimize productivity, as well as the intensive production of iron— were flourishing.
After this remarkable revolution, the age of science and digital technology began.
2. The way we are living today is influenced by Western Culture.
Along with the rich history of the West are contributions that directly influenced our way of living today.
The things that we have now— including our worldviews and values— have a western touch to them. Even the way we perceived our place in society is influenced by Western Culture.
Below are some of the significant contributions of Western Culture to mankind:
Today, we have the freedom to express ourselves, speak our minds, and even get involved in the different aspects of society. We have the supreme right to exercise our power in the government and even represent our fellow people- be it through elections or by being public servants.
It was the Greeks who created the world’s first democracy. They first started with a monarchy, transferred to an oligarchy, and then finally established democracy. The Greeks first saw the importance of involving the masses in the governance of their nation. Today, the power of democracy is a crucial right that we endow.
Almost everyone else in the world knows of the Olympics. During the Olympic seasons, our nationalism and patriotism are invoked, hoping for our representatives to get the gold medal.
But do you know that it was the Greeks who held the first Olympic games? The Olympic games were named after the city of Olympia, where they were first born. Every four years, the Greeks will have held these games in honor of the god, Zeus. Participants from the city-states and colonies of Greece gathered together in hope of being held as winners and gaining fame and glory.
The First Version of Surgical Tools
Aside from pushing forward the frontiers of science and the medical field, the west was also one of the pioneers when it comes to the usage of the first surgical tools.
It was the Romans who first developed some of the precision medical instruments- which our modern-day surgical tools were influenced. One of these tools is the vaginal speculum, which was still used until the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Romans were also known for using precisely crafted surgical tools made by specialist manufacturers. Examples of these are forceps, scalpels, syringes, and bone saws.
It is a fact that transportation is one of the most important aspects of our lifestyle. Through transportation, life-changing opportunities and discoveries were opened to mankind.
With our convenient and accessible mode of transportation today, traveling from one place to another has been less of a hustle. Aside from that, different sectors of the economy rely upon transportation as well.
But are you aware that it is the West who pioneered a lot of our modes of transportation today?
As mentioned earlier, it was in the period of the Industrial revolution when significant changes to transportation occurred. The invention of railroads and steam-powered machinery opened up new doors in transportation.
Many aspects of our education system at present were structured from Western education. Most of our schools of thought and education theories were based on the intellectual accomplishments of the west.
Today, rather than being considered blank slates, students are encouraged to showcase their creativity and their independent thinking.
These contributions of the west are just one of the many to answer the question— is Western Culture Superior? From the things and facts, we mentioned above, it can be easily perceived how the western culture stood out from the others.
Well, the list never ends here because there are still many reasons why you should love Western Culture.
3. Western Culture is the home of world-famous art forms.
For art enthusiasts out there, it’s without a doubt that many aspects of our field of art were structured from western art techniques.
From visual arts to fashion, music, and films- you name it! The touch of Western Culture is evident.
A lot of world-famous art forms that you can personally visit are found in the West- and here are some of them:
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”
As one of the most famous art pieces known around the globe, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci had been the subject of awe and curiosity until today.
Housed by the Louvre Museum in Paris since 1797, the painting was believed to be painted by Leonardo between 1503 and 1506. It stands out from other known paintings because of the subject’s mysterious expression, the atmospheric illusion used, and the subtle modeling of the forms.
The reputable “Sistine Chapel Ceiling” by Michelangelo
If you have been to Vatican City, you must have heard of the enormous Sistine Chapel Ceiling.
Michelangelo’s most famous masterpiece portrays biblical scenes such as the creation of the heavens and earth and the story of Noah and the great flood. This painting of his took him four years to finish. Starting from 1508 and ending in 1512.
The “Venus de Milo Statue” by Alexandros of Antioch
The statue of Venus de Milo, which is now displayed at the Louvre Museum, is one of the oldest art pieces in the west. It is an armless statue in honor of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. It was discovered by a young farmer named Yorgos Kentrotas in 1820, buried in a wall niche within the ruins of the city of Milos.
Experts believed that Alexander Antioch sculpted the masterpiece between 150 and 125 BC, during the Hellenistic period.
Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night is one of the most reproduced paintings in the 21st century. It is a magnificent masterpiece that can be found anywhere. Be it in mugs, towels, magnets, keychains, and t-shirts- this painting of Van Gogh proves how timeless and universal it is.
The Starry Night was painted by Van Gogh in 1889 when he was staying at the asylum of Saint Paul de Mausole.
Van Gogh was known for deviating from the preferred art techniques of his time. The painter knew that his approach to painting was individualistic, but it is a testament to the real meaning of art. He showed that art is liberating and should be a way of expressing one’s self.
4. There are many dream destinations in the West.
The west is known for its vibrant cities rich in museums, restaurants, historical architecture, and culture. It is not surprising if you will have difficulty in choosing which place to visit for your getaway because almost each one of them is perfect.
But worry not, for here are some of the famous destinations you can visit in the west.
Paris, The City of Love
From films and literature to music, Paris always gets a mention. Every year, millions of tourists visit the City of Love because of its unforgettable ambiance and rich culture. Its divine cuisine and wide collection of art are also worth taking note of.
As a city of “many splendors”, Paris has a lot of world-class museums, cuisines, and fashion.
If it’s your first time in Paris, you might want to spend some time and take a lot of selfies at the famous Eiffel Tower. The Louvre Museum houses a lot of world-class art pieces too that are worth admiring.
Also, don’t forget to visit other notable sites from the city as well. You can have a walk at the Luxembourg Gardens, Notre Dame, and even the Latin Quarter.
The Remarkable City of Athens
If you’re a history and Greek mythology enthusiast, visiting the city of Athens will be perfect for you!
Known as the cradle of Western Civilization, Athens has a unique history of 3,400 years. It is one of the world’s oldest cities and is known to be the place where democracy was born. Athens was named after the Greek goddess Athena, who was once the patron of the city.
The Pristine Land of Germany
This place shouldn’t be missing from your bucket list. Germany is best described by its unique culture, natural beauty, and history.
Your time and budget will be well-spent considering the number of historic cities, scenic towns, forests, and mountains you can visit.
Be it sightseeing or recreational activities- you’ll never run out of things to do in Germany. You can spend time in its metropolitan areas such as Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Munich. The Rhine Valley and Bavarian Alps are worth visiting too.
Literature enthusiasts will never miss out on the place where their favorite authors like William Shakespeare and Jane Austen were born. How about the die-hard fans of The Beatles? It would be a thrill to visit the land where they originated right?
Many tourists visiting England frequently visit the Tower of London, the mystical Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, and Hadrian’s wall. England aside from its history has a lot to offer. Add its legends, myths, traditions, castle ruins, and landmarks- you’ll itinerary will be jumped-packed immediately.
Is Western Culture Superior? These perfect destinations in the west up to the stories they tell- are plausible answers to such questions. Without a doubt— the architecture and famous landmarks shaped by Western Culture— embody grace, preeminence, and majesty.
And of course, if we talked about places, we should talk about western cuisine as well.
5. Western cuisine will appeal to your palate.
Western cuisine, in essence, derives its foundations from French cuisine. The modernization made by Auguste Escoffier in the classical French cooking technique serves as the building blocks of the culinary world today.
Well, let’s skip the technical part and jump on to some of the most famous food you’ll find in the west!
Cheese fondue from Switzerland
Hooray, to all those cheese lovers out there! Your dream food can be found in Switzerland!
Fondue is a French term that means to melt, and this is very characteristic of this delicious dish. Cheese fondue is served during winter as it has a warming effect.
It is mostly served on a shared pot over a portable heated stove and eaten by dipping your bread into the cheese. Just by its description, isn’t it heavenly already?
Pizza from Italy
Yes, we may say that pizzas are commonly found anywhere else, but do you know that your favorite snack originated in Italy?
It is said that no one can beat pizzas made by Italians because each city in Italy has its unique way of making its pizza.
Goulash from Hungary
If you’re seeking a portion of warming comfort food, then a bowl of Goulash will be perfect for you!
As one of Hungary’s national dishes, this meat stew is full of vegetable and blasting flavors because of its heavy paprika seasoning. Goulash is believed to have a rich history as it dates back to the 9th century and is believed to be one of the dishes eaten by Hungarian shepherds.
Waffles from Belgium
It will be surprising if you don’t know about waffles- especially those from Belgium! Waffles are everyone’s favorite and it would be bad if we will not include them in our list.
Waffles are made from batter baked in a waffle iron and then often served with strawberries, cinnamons, and different confectionaries. Belgium has different waffles depending on its regions, giving you a wide selection to choose from.
Is Western Culture Superior: Final Thoughts
To sum up, Western Culture embodies unique characteristics that helped it flourish and stood out from the rest. Its history and contributions served— not just as a foundation for the west— but also for the cultures it influenced. We are enjoying a lot of privileges today thanks to its accomplishments. Furthermore, some aspects of our worldview and perception of ourselves, mirror the very essence of western culture. No matter where you go, there’s always a tint of the west.
So, is Western culture superior? Based on what you’ve read from this article; the answer is on you.