23. Western Culture Is the Individual Culture
The most representative of modern Western culture are the United States Declaration of Independence, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Law is the most basic tool to adjust the relationship between humans, and it’s also the most basic rules of the game, it decides the nature of things.
View from the name, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the declaration of individual rights. All of its content is a kind of social norms that formulate around the power that owned by individuals in society.
Only one item in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers to the relations and obligations between humans, while this obligation is also formulated to ensure the rights of others not infracted by the actions of the parties.
Therefore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ is a code of conduct, and all the contents are formulating with the starting point of personal interests.
The United States Declaration of Independence is even more like this, of which the first sentence of the opening is the emphasis on individual rights. ‘All men are created equal; the creator gives them some unalienable rights that include right of life, right of liberty and right of pursuit of happiness.’
All men are created equally: it is a right concept from the microscopic view of an individual. It represents an equal relationship between humans from the spiritual level, while Western civilisation can only guarantee the equal from the spiritual level, and the equal relationship between humans from the material level is impossible. Its meaning is only used to limit the relationship between humans, while it doesn’t mention the relationship between human and society and human and nature at all.
‘The creator gives them some unalienable rights that include right of life, right of liberty, and right of pursuit of happiness.’ The emphasis here is on three words: ‘right of liberty and right of pursuit of happiness’, while ‘right of pursuit of happiness’ is actually an adjective and used to describe survival and freedom. In fact, survival and freedom of each person aim to pursue happiness naturally without emphasis. Only when he is a masochist can he see another kind of happiness, because they feel that masochism is also a kind of happiness too, and the others have nothing to do with this, because happiness or unhappiness is the thing only known by the litigant himself instead of charging by others.
Rights of life and liberty are the objects that emphasised again and again by the Declaration of Independence and Western civilisation, and they are proud of them. These two rights, right of life and right of liberty, are both totally individual rights and don’t mention others at all. It refers that a person has the right to survival according to his own way of life and live according to his own willing, and it doesn’t mention the relationship between individual and society as well as individual and nature at all.
Amendments to the United States Constitution: except election and tax, the content is all about the clauses that protect individual rights and doesn’t mention public power and social constraints on individuals at all.
1. Guarantee freedom of speech to express the personal political views and right appeals.
2. Individuals have the right to carry guns to protect individual property and rights.
3. Home residency is the most proud of rights for Western countries: ‘Wind can enter, rain can enter, but thousands upon thousands of horses and soldiers of the king can’t enter.’
4. Right of personal property and residence safety, right of suspect, etc.
Therefore, the main purpose of laws of Western countries is to conduct legal protection around the individual private rights. Morality can be said to be the basis and extension of the law, morality is able to rise to the law under a certain condition, and it’s a code of conduct of people that spreads around the law, so social rules of the Westerners, including law and morality, are all served for personal interests.
Culture is the sum up of the performance of law, morality, and ideologies in daily life and literary works. Therefore, the Western culture is a personal culture that only emphasises the individual rights while ignoring and weakening the universal connection and interrelationship between humans, human and society, and human and nature.