What Does It Mean to Be Modern?


I come from a third world country where the concept of being modern is to embrace Western values unconditionally. By this I mean acceptance of western trends in clothing, thinking process, morality, music, language and food. When you look at it as I have articulated there is nothing wrong. However, where it should matter most is in taking the good and leaving out what is clearly detrimental.

The fundamental strength in Western values is using your education to open your mind and free it from negative and backwards thinking. Simple examples can be discipline, the rule of law, following rules and regulations, being punctual, and being able to think for yourself in spite of modern propaganda.

In my opinion, I find that in most parts of the developing world the inability to take and embrace Western values, adapting the strengths while discarding the negative in everyday life has led to conflict in most common folk. The MTV culture, as it is commonly called, should not constitute a threat simply because one needs to treat it as entertainment value only and nothing else. One could probably learn to think outside the box and develop the many processes of creative thinking, in order to enrich one’s culture and redefine their way of thinking.

In fact, the danger of simply aping Western culture can be extremely detrimental, when one considers the fact that there are serious byproducts that are endangering the very foundations of Western culture. In my opinion, the media has promoted negative influences which challenge the very foundations of commerce and the economy. By focusing on being cool, glamorous and fun instead of being knowledgeable, disciplined, hard-working and committed to being able to afford glamor and fun in the first place, the message has been to have fun before all else.

I was shocked to see an advertisement placed by a struggling clothing chain claiming that being beautiful, and making every effort to be just that, superseded getting a great education in order that one may be able to enhance their learned skills. Looking good is everyone’s goal, but not before securing the means to make that a reality. Next, the reason for the drug culture in the West may very well stem from the void that is being felt due to the dichotomy between what is being sold by the media and what is actually the truth on the ground. Taking drugs may be the easy way out of the failure to grasp the situation. These are some of the negative influences that I talk about, when I ask what is it to be modern.

Opinion by Rajendra Das

Modern Personal Experience

Photo by Atou Hsu – Flickr License

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