WESTERN CULTURE ADVANTAGES: A DEEPER LOOK INTO THE WEST

What are the Western culture advantages? How did a small cluster of nations become a powerful entity? Let’s read on to find out!

The West has greatly exercised global dominance for centuries. How it flourished and stood out from other cultures has been a debate and focus of study until now. Notably, Western culture has greatly impacted various parts of the globe- in all aspects of life. It influenced not just the West or the Americas but every continent. The ideas of the West about science, politics, arts, and religion have had an unequaled influence. Throughout our planet’s history, the West has become a symbol of power and authority- and this is because of the unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest. 

Carry on reading to find out more about the Western culture advantages.

The Ever-progressing West

Western culture or Western civilization is an eminently broad term used to associate the belief systems, social norms, values, and enduring ideas from the oriental Mediterranean basin in the centuries before the emergence of the common era- that evolved into a multitude of forms through the Medieval era and eventually took modern shape following the Renaissance.

The narrative of the West is said to have taken its roots from the ancient Greeks. Generally, most Western nations derive much of their culture from the Romans and the ancient Greeks. It was in the Classical period when Western philosophy, mathematics, science, art, literature, and architecture developed first. 

The West has always been religiously, culturally, and politically diverse. It opened doors of opportunities to the world by paving the way to more scientific and philosophical discoveries and adopting and modifying other cultures’ schools of thought. The West allotted more attention to experimentation and numerous trial by error, which led them to develop different and novel ways to enhance subsisting innovations and create new ones. It has pushed itself towards progress by learning from the lessons of the global nations and continuously evolving toward development. 

The Most Popular Western Culture Advantages

The story of the West is unique, meaningful, and complex. It has propelled Humanity far beyond what we could have been in the present through the characteristics it embodies. 

Below are the Western culture advantages:

1. Its thirst for new knowledge and discoveries.

From the ancient Greeks to the Industrial Revolution, Western culture is always after innovations and discoveries. People discovered new methods to improve their standard and quality of living. The people of the West didn’t stop questioning their existing school of thought and way of thinking, thus resulting in new ideas that paved the way for our modern principles and values.

It took great courage and daring for the people of the West to abolish their old thinking. The freedom and rights we have now are thanks to the influences of those who first dared to advocate human equality and freedom of choice and expression. In the past, education was only for the abled and those who could afford it, but the West advocated that it was for all. They pushed for inclusivity in education and all aspect of life. In the past, women were only meant to decorate their homes and were seen as possessions, but Western women fought for their rights and advocated that they receive equal treatment as men in society, thus influencing the women of the world too.

The West discovered new methods to do their tasks faster and safer. During the Industrial Revolution, many discoveries, such as steam and machinery, opened doors of opportunities for our modern technology. Today, we don’t have to do laborious tasks manually thanks to the ideas and innovation of the West.

2. Western culture values equality.

One of the most significant advantages of Western culture is its promotion of equality, wherein everyone has the right to express themselves and their ideas. 

The concept of democracy from the ancient Greeks has brought significant changes to Humanity. The courage of those who participated in the French Revolution ignited a sense of freedom for us. They have taught us that there’s no such thing as absolute power because the government is made by the people, for the people. Each of us has the power to make changes in our states and represent our people, despite our diverse backgrounds.

Unlike in the past, we now have complete freedom over our destiny. We can now build the life we want without being shackled by societal standards and irrational caste systems. We are now free to express our gender with pride and dignity. And these are all thanks to the value given by Western culture to equality.

3. Western culture embodies Individual dignity.

The values of equality resulted in the concept of individual dignity. The idea of human dignity is very precious in Western society. For the West, human dignity is understood as something natural and unearned worth that we all share equally. Regardless of our social standing or color, we are born with human dignity, which is the basis of our human rights.

In Thomas Aquinas’ On the Unity of the Intellect, he wrote that the idea of a group mind or will would equate that a person would “not be the master of his acts, nor will any act of his be praiseworthy or blameworthy.” It means that each of us is responsible for our actions, which gives us the right and the obligation to respect others’ rights. Today, we value Individual dignity, wherein we have the right to be ourselves and choose what we want to be. It also means that we must respect others’ rights and cooperate for the good of society. 

4. Western culture promotes the use of rational thinking.

Rational thinking is the ability to draw conclusions and decisions based on facts, logic, and data, not emotions. During the revolution of rational thinking, Western Civilization underwent a great transition where the people began to use reasoning to explain natural events and human events rather than explaining to them as caused by the Gods or superstitious reasons. 

In the past, we used to explain everything through the supernatural, which led many people to danger and nations to fall. But through the emergence of rational thinking, the power of the modern mind has reached great achievements. The emergence of rational thinking began in the ancient Greek city of Ionia. Ionian citizens were open to novel ideas and were influenced by traders from around the globe. From these, laws were invented and written down by Ionians to express the collective will of their society. Rational thinking is important in today’s world in creating a harmonious and peaceful environment for Humanity. 

5. Western culture is a gateway to the history of other countries.

The West paves the way for discovering the unique history of other countries. During the earlier years, the West collected much information, passages, and manuscripts during their expeditions in nations worldwide. In this aspect, the West is a great library of knowledge in knowing the history of a country. Countries need to learn from one another to understand each other more deeply. Through this, a sense of camaraderie is taught among us. 

The knowledge between nations can lead to mutual alliances- which will be beneficial in uplifting our economies, promoting peace, and leveraging our standard of living. In exceptional times, countries bounded by alliances can help one another. It can be through a mutual defense agreement or economic partnerships. 

Moreover, joint archaeological and anthropological expeditions can be done by allied countries. For instance, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre aims to encourage the identification, preservation, and protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage, which has remarkable value to Humanity. UNESCO encourages the cooperation of local communities and international entities to conserve our natural and cultural heritage.

6. Western culture gives access to valuable works of literature.

Western literature has greatly influenced all parts of the globe. From Plato’s The Republic to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, most of its literary works have opened our minds and instilled thought-provoking ideas in Humanity. Literature has the soft power to ignite a fire in our hearts and push us to take action. 

Nations impacted by Western culture advantages can gain access to literary pieces inspired by their ideals. Pieces of valuable knowledge and perception from the West’s literature can enrich a country’s culture through its additional sources of information and knowledge. One of the valuable effects of Western literature on the world is its influence in abolishing old destructive traditions and beliefs. People’s eyes are opened to the idea of equality and individual dignity. 

An example of literary work that changed the world is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book described the horrors of African-American slavery and brought it to the public’s attention. It is said that Uncle Tom’s Cabin remarkably furthered the abolitionist cause in the North, heightened the tensions with southern slaveholders, and, as Abraham Lincoln suggested, feasibly helped tip the United States into civil war. Furthermore, Jose Rizal- the national hero of the Philippines, was also inspired by Beecher Stowe’s novel, which prompted him to write his Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not.), which aimed to expose Spanish colonial abuse in the Philippines.

7. Western culture brought the emergence of the scientific method.

The Scientific Revolution in the 16th and 17th centuries radically changed scientific thought. A new perception of nature replaced the Greek scientific view that dominated science for almost two thousand years. With this came the scientific method, the empirical system of obtaining new scientific knowledge. Science became an autonomous discipline different from the study of technology and philosophy and was then regarded as a means for practical goals. 

The Scientific Revolution paved the way for the following changes:

  • Replacement of a quantitative for a qualitative view of nature.
  • Rehabilitation of common sense in favor of abstract reasoning.
  • The view of nature as a machine rather than as an organism.
  • The evolution of an experimental scientific method that sought definite answers to certain limited questions couched in the framework of specific theories.
  • Lastly, the acceptance of new standards for the explanation, stressing the “how” rather than the “why” that had characterized the Aristotelian search for final causes.

The Age of Enlightenment also took form from the Scientific Revolution. This era paved the way for the remarkable advancement in the practice of mathematics, medicine, and physics, the development of taxonomy, knowledge of magnetism and electricity, and the improvement of chemistry as a discipline that laid the foundation for modern chemistry.

8. The West has opened the door to an efficient way of producing goods.

Western culture contributed greatly to the remarkable transition of industries during the Industrial Revolution. The significant invention of machinery powered by steam gave way to faster and safer production of goods and transportation. 

In the early years, products were made through laborious work and took great lengths to finish. The raw materials are hard to acquire, and production costs are more expensive. Back then, the people’s wages could not justify their efforts and would not suffice for their families’ daily needs. Nonetheless, thanks to the contributions of the people who pushed forward the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing was made easier, more convenient, efficient, and safer. The products that will take months to finish can be done after hours or even minutes. Production costs became affordable, which increased the laborer’s wages- leading to a much more comfortable standard of living.

Innovations in farming techniques also emerged, resulting in higher crop yields and an increase in the supply of raw materials. Some of the agricultural techniques established in the Industrial Revolution are still used by different agriculture sectors worldwide. 

9. The West has a rich economy.

The West was the first of the major world regions to develop a modern economy structured from industrial development, provision of specialized services, and commercial agriculture. Its success in modernization can be traced back to its history of innovation, rich economic resources, the emergence of an educated and skilled workforce, and the cooperation of all its parts. Through all of these, there’s an easy development of enormous quantities of raw materials and finished products and the communication of revolutionary ideas.

For example, the European Union (EU) is the world’s largest trade bloc. It is the world’s biggest import market for over one hundred countries and the biggest exporter of goods. One of the European Union’s founding principles is the concept of free trade among its members- which is made possible by the single market.

Countries with economic alliances with the West can also be positively affected. They engage in a mutual exchange that benefits both parties. Agreements included in this economic relationship include joint resource explorations, relaxation of tariff trades, and free trade agreements. 

In this sense, local economies that need imported goods to supply their consumers’ needs may have the means of obtaining the said goods from their partners. Partner countries can also aim to reach domestic and international markets. Or, they help one another in economic shortages and national emergencies.

10. The West is a dream destination for job seekers.

With its rich economy, it’s unquestionable why people from around the world aspire to work in the West. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Better life index, the West is at the top rank. It ranks high in water and air quality, life expectancy, quality of education, and employment opportunities. These are just some of the top reasons why many go to the West to work. 

The West has a better work-life balance, with an average of four weeks of paid leave per year, excluding public holidays. It offers reasonable daily work hours, enabling activities outside your work. People may migrate to Western countries to look for better job prospects. They will have the chance to earn higher wages and provide a much more stable life for their families. On the other hand, some jobs offer applicants the choice to migrate with their families and live better lives.

Western countries might also choose to expand their economies across borders. Countries with mutual ties to the West can benefit from these economic expansions through the available job opportunities for their people and the economic benefits they will receive.

Western Culture Advantages: A Few Takeaways

It’s necessary to have an in-depth understanding of Western culture advantages to understand our planet’s civilization. Its unique characteristics, such as an open way of thinking, love of equality and individual dignity, thirst for discoveries and exploration, and cooperation between its nations, gave Western culture advantages in reaching greatness and establishing authority. 

There are plenty of lessons we can learn from the West as it is one of the molders that shaped our world today. One of them is to continue moving forward despite the adversities we face. 

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