Morals and Customs

It is unfair to state that European morals both good and evil have been transferred to the East after its contact with the Western culture. This is because the factors which go to mould manners whether of hereditary, local or social nature, do not move from one nation to another in such a short time as that which has elapsed.

To imitate and copy the customs and ways of life of victorious nations is one of the deep-rooted habits of the people. The Easterners did the same in this respect and this was known to be the habit of all other nations. When the East felt the need for borrowing European industry, it borrowed the European ways of life too. In the face of the Europeans' power the Easterners felt weak and the result was that they wore clothes, ate prepared dishes and passed their leisure time in the European style. This was clearly seen in big cities and busy seaports, whose inhabitants had to contact the Europeans for trade and commerce. Gradually, the same phenomena crept into the interior of the countries and it has always been normal for the rural people to imitate the inhabitants of the urban areas and to copy their smartness and luxurious life. The result was that imitation exceeded the limits set by necessity and requirements of proper dealings. Now, these customs were both good or bad. The good customs included such things as sports and picnics, the bad trends of European life was ball room dancing in which the two sexes danced in pairs although there existed in the East certain forms of national and innocent dances in which the two sexes could meet in a manner not repugnant to manliness or chivalry. These oriental dances could be improved and developed to make them a kind of sport which invigorates the soul and the body without violating good manners and modesty.

It is not true that European civilization was responsible for immorality in the East, it is also not true that such immorality did not exist in the East before the Easterners began copying European culture in the days of its decay and inactivity the East fell victim to different forms of immorality which stripped it of life. But it could be said that the European civilization covered the immorality in the East with attractive labels to hide the disgrace which kept dignified people at a distance from it previously. The result was that many people who disliked it in the past accepted the same with different labels. After contact between the ancient East and contemporary civilization, morals received either a serious shock or gained a fine touch. The moral code originates from usages or the community's authority over individuals; it was this code which was consciously or unconsciously disturbed by Europeans and Easterners alike. This was the result forces which appeared quite contradictory outwardly.

European life made the Easterners look with doubts at the new social manners Here, the Easterners wanted to be sure of their being virtuous and before adopting a new and suitable moral code they had doubts and felt suspicious of the old one. That was one shock.

The other was a result of the freedom of the individual which allowed him to have his own views) likes and dislikes, independent of society restrictions.

Freedom in this respect meant a demand for change. It was taken as a synonym of audacity to criticize and to condemn. Immodesty was explained away as mere carelessness and moral courage meant indulgence in lechery.

This change held no good hopes as regards the future but at the same time it was not devoid of certain sparks of optimism. The age of inactivity is over in the East. It has left some ruins and wreckage and it is necessary to clear the ground and remove the debris before a new construction is begun. Faults always precede correct thinking once the dust settles and the framework of the new construction shows itself frustration gives way to optimism.

It is for tomorrow to give its ruling, it is not beyond conceiving that a movement may spring from the East bearing the torch of spiritualism to modernize the morals of Easterners and Westerners alike.

Everything requires modernization in our age.