The Attempt to Justify Domination by One Culture over Another Based on Superiority Is Flawed

Humanity has seen, repeated throughout the world, the justification for invading, dominating and controlling another society or culture based on some alleged benefit of superiority that will be transmitted to the subjugated society.  Under the guise of this “benefit” Western civilisation, and its Christian basis, have inserted themselves into the lives, religious traditions, cultures and life-ways of vast numbers of people.  Families have been torn apart, languages have been suppressed, religions have been denigrated and stamped out, ways of life have been destroyed.  As part of this process there has been an arrogant feeling of superiority by the dominating culture which was communicated through hostile and ill-treatment of those people who were supposed to be inferior because of the cultural or religious differences, economic or technological backwardness (based on the European model and its standard), or even just the color of people’s skin.  The First Nations people in North America were particularly impacted, children were forcibly withdrawn from their families, traditional folkways were destroyed, languages were suppressed, and cultural background was minimized.  In the process many hundreds of thousands of First Nations people died off.  Similar events occurred in Australia, Africa and Asia; they even took place in Europe with respect to smaller or weaker cultural groups.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “The British domination in India was justified by the priceless gift of British civilisation and British ideals, to say nothing of the one and only true religion, Christianity, to a heathen, orientally benighted and semi-barbarous nation.  All this is now an exploded myth.  We can see clearly enough that the long suppression of the Celtic spirit and Celtic culture, superior in spirituality if inferior in certain practical directions to the Latin and Teutonic, was a loss not only to the Celtic peoples, but to the world.  India has vehemently rejected the pretensions to superiority of British civilisation, culture and religion, while still admitting, not so much the British, as the modern ideals and methods in politics and in the trend to a greater social equality; and it is becoming clear now, even to the more well-informed European minds that the Anglicisation of India would have been a wrong not only to India itself but to humanity.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 31, The Conditions of a Free World-Union, pp. 273-274