Sivad wrote:Obviously there have been important contributions to the common heritage from many cultures but the Western canon is unparalleled in every respect. Without the canon we're all just illiterate hicks.
I think one has to stop thinking any one particular human culture has the 'truth'and the light and the way as if it were Jesus of Nazareth Sivad.
Every human culture has the foundations for greatness. Simply because they are part of a human society, they inhabit a certain environment and or land base, and they experience life. Even a life without writing or reading. You must realize that publicly funded education and mass amounts of people exchanging information and histories and philosophies instantly in this sort of format is very very recent.
Most Americans did not attend a school consistently all the way through the 1920's and beyond. So? Many people were living their lives without a formal education. For thousands of years. Just because they weren't formally educated did not mean that they could never contribute or pass on knowledge. They did it through official apprenticeships, oral discussions and hands on demonstrations of what they learned to others. Most learning is very social Sivad. Even in this format.
Illiteracy is an impediment to learning not because writing is a magic pill that makes you a critical thinker and you have the technical skill to decipher written symbols.....but because of being able to listen and understand to a wide variety of opinions, and digest facts and graphs and process information from an incredibly wide ranging series of people. From every language, culture and background and history that has ever been recorded or written down.
It is almost magical to have access to that variation.
I find any kind of judgment in which an entire group's contributions are belittled or ignored because someone says only these people's culture or history is important and of value is for the ones who are illiterate hicks Sivad.
I would never deny myself the pleasure of reading a great author because he is a European like Shakespeare was, or because he is a Black American like W.E.B DuBois was. Or because he is Mexican or Peruvian or Costa Rican or Nicaraguan...one of the greatest writers and poets in the Spanish language is from Nicaragua. Ruben Dario.
But if you don't know that culture and you don't pay attention? You think the only ones with talent are from England or France or Germany.
Asia has vast storehouses of knowledge that is written down. Many Chinese people were poor as dirt and rural for thousands of years and few could read or write. It doesn't mean they weren't learning something during their lifetimes.
Most of our ancestors Sivad were illiterate rural people. I know my grandfather was on my father's side. He died illiterate in 1941. But he told great stories, recited poetry and song lyrics by heart in the plaza, and told very popular jokes with his fellow countrymen. He was loved. And was a fine father. Which all his sons followed his example by being steadfast and loving fathers to their children as well.
Human life is very interesting. The key is to seeing value in human experiences. All of them and not thinking a certain group has all the answers. That would be limiting.