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Order of Culture 3: The type and the order

Having talking about the order of time and the order of space, the said order is the one like astronomical figures such as the first decimal place or the hundredth decimal place.

When talking about culture, as is often the case in Japan, a difference of the type of culture is focused on, for example the culture composed of wood and the culture composed of stone are compared, or the culture composed of mud as East Asian culture symbolized by Buddhism, the culture composed of stone as European culture symbolized by Christianity and the culture of earth as Middle and Near Eastern culture are identified they. By symbolically simplifying and talking of the type of culture, we feel that we can understand characteristics and differences of various cultures.

 

The method for understanding the essence of various cultures by comparing the type of culture may be effective as far as we keep our pivot foot in Japan or Japanese culture, however the comparative logic relying on the type of culture becomes useless if we move our pivot foot outward even one step. In other words we can talk about Japanese culture from Japanese eyes gauging Japanese culture and making Japanese understand, however it is nothing more.

Furthermore, the way of looking at different culture through polarizing lens without facing the essence of different culture and then being satisfied with it will cause the result 'being worse than useless.' A variety of tour guide books such as 'How to walk around earth' is the utmost example.

In the process of my hastily hard work for making up the exhibition plan of the Jordan National Museum, I could realize, step by step, that as I expressed in the order of time or the order of space culture might have a phase of not only a type but also an order, without understanding the above I could not directly grasp such realities of different culture, both the whole and the details, as the history or the geopolitics of the Middle and Near East for example, and could not soak myself in the realities.

The order does not mean that the more the better and the less the worse. The difference of the orders tells that their complexity or specifications are different while the difference of the types tells that their subtleness and finishes are different.

My own mother tongue is Japanese of the Ural-Altaic family and I can read, write and speak English of the Indo-European family like my first language and Indonesian of the Austro-Malaysian family without any inconvenience. I have been working hard for Arabic of the Semitic family now. I recently notice that I may have spontaneously changed not the type of language but the order of language when I studied a new language, just like a feeling of changing a radio band from middle wave to FM.

As for religion as well, among Judaism, Christianity and Islam initiated by the same Semitics or between Persian Zoroastrianism and Aryan Buddhism, the both are the Indo-European family, the individual understanding can be deepened by comparing their types of religion, however if the former and the latter are compared in the type of religion it tends to misunderstand by contraries. They shall be treated in the comparison of the order of religion.

In Amman, about 600 meters above sea level, the temperature sometimes exceeds 35 degrees centigrade in the summer daytime, however it is usually dry and we feel comfortable realizing cool breeze keenly in the shade of a tree. Hence, in summer a lot of vacationers flood into Amman from various places of the Arabian Peninsula, such as Saudi Arabia, the Persian gulf states and Oman including Iraq, and not only all hotels become filled to capacity but also a lot of cars with number-plates of individual countries fill the streets of Amman. Especially in this year, as Syria is in a highly volatile political situation, all vacationers stay in Jordan and the hurly-burly remains here.

People who have originally living in the Middle and Near East are Assyrian, Armenian, Albanian, Aramean, Israelite and Palestinian who are comparatively new comers in this region and Arabian have newly come north to this land with Islam, however everybody can speak Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) which has been based on the Qur'an and they feel little inconvenience to their mutual communication as long as they speak it. All newspapers, radios, televisions and books in the Arabic speaking sphere are written or spoken in the MSA.

Even though there exists a kind of difference in the order of culture, which can not be explained by the type of culture, between the natives in this land and the natives in the Arabian Peninsula, Arabians immigrated here have a record of only 1500 years or so. Both of them click their tongues against the difference but enjoy it at the same time.

In the Jordan National Museum to be scheduled to open in the summer of 2005, we expect to establish the fundamental framework based on the order of culture and produce the final exhibition according to the type of culture, please look forward to the opening!

(22/7/2005)
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