The wealth from the colonies and the power of the gun gave Europe a flying start in catalysing what came to be regarded as Western Civilisation. Newtonian Science and the Cartesian separation of the physical from the metaphysical greatly accelerated this process. Consequently, vast differentials in power and wealth within European countries became the cause celébre for the First and Second World Wars. This brought about the weakening and later the break up of the colonial structure and the power shift towards the United States. Europe became the recipient of its largesse and chief supporter of its policies and goals.
The financial system of the colonial Empires, which was located at the power centres in Europe also shifted to the United States. It kept on altering and enlarging the world’s financial architecture to multiply its financial advantages for the rising United States, the prosperity of post-war Europe and emerging Asia. The target now was not just the colonies, but the whole world. The fall of the Soviet Union gave the license and the incentive to create a global structure for an Armament Protected Consumerist Paradigm, and manipulate the worldwide resources, production systems, and markets, so that the financial flows would converge at the financial power centres in New York, London, Amsterdam and other chosen cities.
This unabashed and extravagant pursuit and use of wealth and power had its consequences and it has landed the United States into indebtedness amounting to hundreds of trillions of dollars, both external and internal; that is many times its GDP. This strategy relied on limitless borrowing and currency creation, thereby multiplying the number of billionaires. The unethical and speculative acceleration of these processes exposed and bankrupted major financial systems including that of Europe, to the extent of their interdependence with the American system. Now under threat of total economic collapse, these institutions are being bailed-out with public funds and partial or total socialisation of the sacred market economy is taking place, with Europe toeing the line.
The concept of Western Civilisation, which during the last half-century was transformed into American Civilisation in the people’s psyche, is being re-named Western Civilisation to make Europe an active participant in the bailing out process, and ensure its complicity in preserving the same financial architecture with some cosmetic changes.
The debts are in America; the money and the markets are in Asia; Europe is sliding into financial crisis and economic recession. The energy needs of some of its major countries are being met from Russia. How should Europe respond to the challenge for the survival of the market economy? By globalising through an Armament Protected Consumerist Paradigm, under the American flag of Western Civilisation, and military might: USA plus NATO? Or by charting a different, independent path?
The spirit of Western Civilisation is still enshrined in Europe. At least, whatever of it has escaped the inroads of consumerism. The financial oligarchies, as in the past, will move with the tide away from the United States. European powers will have to dismantle their colonial prejudices and mind-sets to relate to the new economic realities. Not only will they have to contain the activities of the monopolistic elites, but also avoid participating in the attempts to reclaim the lost political and economic dependencies of the United States and their own former colonies.
The events of the last few months have clearly established, that diverse cultural needs and resources, dictate different developmental patterns. The endeavour to globalise the world with aggressive unilateral techniques, is proving disastrous. Pedestrian, unidimensional and mechanical solutions to complex human problems requiring a holistic approach thus pose a threat to human civilisation as a whole.
Therefore, a project to transform and control the human condition through genocidal weapons of hunger, disease and terror will prove counter-productive and self-destructive.
Europe has to learn a lesson from its own colonial past, and from the suicidal erosion of the American Empire. It failed to seek and find the wisdom of the East and the new Sciences, which both teach the interconnectedness of all phenomena wherein by hurting others, you are in reality destroying your own self. Visible scars on the soul of an aborted American Empire, should be a warning to all nations harbouring dreams of conquest, wealth and power at the expense of other peoples and cultures.
Therefore, Europe must restore its cultural transcendence, and provide a new meaning to Western Civilisation through continuity and creativity. After setting in the West, the sun is now rising in the East. A new world full of hopes, dreams, peace and compassion is struggling to take birth. Let Europe share in a new cycle of creativity from the material to the mental, the supramental to the spiritual in search of the meaning and purpose of life, thus pursuing eternal rather than solely temporal goals.
J C Kapur