The Occident’s Accident

Hard to define the Occident, in its 21st century’s version! It all started in Western Europe then spread both Westward and Eastward. Its most recently developments go as far away as Africa and Asia, despite cultural distance. It seems like there’s a Western movies playing in all theaters all over the world!

The Occident is just everywhere. Banging at the doors of the Arctic world down to the Antarctica, via deserts and rain forests in Brazil or New Guinea! Everywhere from orbital dumpsites, free Wifi zones, down to floating plastic oceans…

Is it just a dream or a reality? A myth of a society based on over consumption, over digital connection and over indebtedness? A simple historical accident or a solid global model looking for a sustainable way forward?

According to French author Paul Ariès, the « occidental capitalism » represents a certain lifestyle, formerly called « bourgeois ». Material accumulation would be a response to our existential anxieties. Funny how primitive people (and « normal occidentals » too, living modestly around the corner) are deeply less worried and concerned about today and tomorrow!! « Always more », a consumerist life, the victory of our desires over our actual needs, would be a way to fight off our fear of death. A way to repel our sentiment of finitude!

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