The Influence of Modernity On Traditional Communities
Updated: Nov 25
The grand grip and dominance of the modern world on us is obvious and unquestionable. It is obvious that the people before the various technological revolutions lived completely different lives from what many of us are living as of today.
However, some remnants of the pre-industrial, pre-media human civilization still exist today to some extent. This is not only about communities of tribesmen in remote areas who still live as if it's the stone age; it is also about more traditional societies that have managed to maintain at least some of their "purity" before the westernization and globalization of the world.
Unfortunately, as the technology and science of today continue to develop, the duration of these said communities is put in jeopardy. The exposure to what the world has to offer may threaten those who wish to preserve their ancient, traditional way of life, but their passion to keep preserving their and their communities' lifestyle may not be able to succeed in preventing themselves from the impact of modern-day technology that shall only progress towards new discoveries and inventions.
Here are some of the aspects that the technology and science of the "western hegemony" did, have, and could stop the preservation of the old ways of esoteric communities:
Shared beliefs in deities and supernatural and mystical forces have served as the glue that has allowed entire communities to cooperate with each other and to prosper as collectives, both justly and unjustly, for thousands of years.
Although much of the world's population is religious in some way, scientific methods of inquiry and experimentation have disproven some religious principles.
Examples include the existence of souls and reincarnation, the creation of the world in 7 days, the world being only a few thousand years old, and the claim that organisms remain unchanged as long as they exist (because religions claim that organisms were created by a flawless system of design, which has also been disproven because there are severely flawed components in organisms).
These discoveries made by scientific research with the help of technological development have led many to convert from creationism to atheism or agnosticism (the lack of a decision about whether deities exist or not). With the rise of people becoming at least more secular, many traditional communities that base their unity on religiousness are jeopardized.
For example, the Jewish Haredim, a heavily religious collection of sects, attempt to preserve their unity and identity by limiting their exposure to information, technology, and media, out of fear that the new information that exists beyond their circle will tear apart the zealotry of their religions (not to mention that many of them forcibly seclude themselves from the world because the world's teachings are "impure").
The demand for more advanced education and professionalism in existing and new fields of knowledge and expertise is putting pressure on traditional communities to give up their old ways in order to make a living. Old professions quickly become obsolete as they are replaced by more advanced professions in the same field that require more education. This is why it is important to stay educated in general, in order to keep up with the world and not be left behind.
Those who are left behind may find it more difficult to survive and thrive in an ever-changing, globalized world.
In general, traditional communities are more isolated or remote from globalized civilizations, and as a result, they are usually poorer and have fewer opportunities in their current environment. This forces them to move from their communities to cities and expose themselves to the ways of the world.
This of course threatens the preservation of traditional communities, as advancement requires change and adjustment. The earliest example of this was during the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, when many men were forced to leave their communities to move to big cities in order to support their families back in their villages or towns with basic necessities such as food and shelter.
Even if their ways are respected by mainstream society, traditional communities usually have a lower socioeconomic status than the general population. They also suffer from higher rates of death, disease, poorer education, and crime, which makes life more difficult and problematic for them than for the rest of the population, who usually have the opposite: more education, more access to technology, more security, and more money.
These significant differences may encourage members of these esoteric communities (especially the young ones) to disassociate themselves from the ways of their ancestors and to go with the flow of the rest of society in order to keep up and allow themselves a better life and future than that of the older generations. An example of this are the Aboriginals, also known as the Indigenous Australians, who were the natives of Australia before it was colonized by Europeans.
The Aboriginals fulfill all of the criteria mentioned in this section of the article: poorer education, poorer life expectancy, and so on. In order to improve their well-being and socioeconomic status, the Aboriginals should become more urbanized and abandon their traditional ways that have existed since the dawn of their culture in rural Australia.