Why Living in the Occident? 

Chantilly, France

So why did I call my blog "Living in the Occident"?

By Occident I mean living in the Western Culture. I guess I could have called my blog "Living in France" which is where I live now but I wanted the scope of my blog to be larger than that. The name of my blog reflects my approach to living in Europe.

Although some may find it difficult to live outside the country they were born and raised in, I feel as comfortable living abroad as I would in my home country, and sometimes even more comfortable. And I think it is because I focus on the similarities and not the differences. My home country and my resident country are both a part of Western Culture. And so I find enough similarity between them that the behaviors and events I experience day to day outside of my home country no longer seem foreign. It is easy for me to see the connection between what I see and experience in France, and what I would see and experience in my native country.

The Western countries are linked by a common set of values. Although there are differences between them, I would argue that those differences are very much insignificant in comparison to their similarities. To be sure, language is a devisive element within the West and much cause for misunderstanding. So is history, with the long legacy of war between the Western nations. But once the language barrier is overcome, stereotypes begin to melt away and the memory of war and conflict begins to fade and what is essential in all of us is what remains. The challenges that each Western country faces, are similar in nature.

Take, for example, immigration. The U.S. faces a challenge of immigration from the poor southern countries of the Western hemisphere, (even if they themselves can be counted among the Western block of nations.) Europe is faced with a challenge of immigration from Islamic countries (Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco) and Sub-Saharan countries.

I think that in the future, it will become more and more important for the Western countries to work together to promote their values in the context of a world becomming increasingly influenced by powers outside of the Western sphere. And in the future, as cultures from outside of the West mix with the western cultures due to immigration, it is necessary for the Western countries to define what it really means to be a citizen. Is it a matter of origins, or commonly held values? All western countries struggle today with this issue. Do we as a whole spend more money trying to keep immigrants out, then we do trying to promote Western values to those who have made it in?

Let's face it, the demographics of our republics and democracies are changing. In a few decades the White/Christian makeup will probably become a minority. In North American, the Anglo-Saxon legacy may cease to dominate. But there is no reason why Western values need be under threat, if an effort is made to educate all in the importance of those values. The most important values are those that are enshrined in our constitutions and in our bills of rights.

One of the objectives of this blog is to identify what those values are and how are they manifested in our everyday world. And how did these values develop over centuries of Western history?
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