Mata Hari was a European of the Dutch origin who migrated to the East Indies during start of the European colonization of India. The cultures of the natives of India had not been influenced by the European culture by that time. This paper tries to explore the differences, similarities and how one culture can affect the culture of other people when there is co-existence among them.
In the bibliography of Mata Hari, the author uses the European culture to compare with the cultures of the East Indies, especially Indonesian. The natives of Indies at the harbor were small in body size and walked barefoot with ease (Shipman, 2007). They used exotic names to call one another and liked to associate and mingle with women without worries. It surprised Griet, who later changed her name to Mata Hari, though to her husband Rudolf it was normal. Immorality was rampant as proven by Rudolph, who had caught syphilis and infected Mata Hari with the disease. In the Netherlands, moral standards were high and people behaved according to strict rules and decorum as opposed to the behavior in Indonesia. Mata realized that the type of life in Indonesia could isolate people and make them be not connected to their family.
The natives were exuberant but wild, exotic and beautiful. Everybody in Indonesia had the freedom to do whatever he or she liked since there were no rules on how one had to behave. The behavior was opposed to the Dutch where the behavior of the people had to follow the rules. The dressing for women in the Dutch East Indies was different to that in Europe as Indies women wore revealing clothing made of loose, lightweight fabrics. Dutch females wore dark clothing that was unsuitable for the tropics and was considered indecorous by the Indonesians.
The natives chewed tobacco; gambir and pinang that made them spit red saliva. This process was considered by the Europeans as disgusting. In Europe, Christianity and formal education were valued, and society dictated the dressing code and the type of food that was to be eaten. The family was revered and considered as a legal grouping that controlled the behavior of a person. Marriage was allowed to be strictly between Europeans, and marrying an Indonesian was objectionable.
In the long run, intermarriages between the Europeans who went to Indonesia and the natives of that country appeared. The life of the immigrants considerably changed, and children reared by Indonesians started to imitate their behavior. Laws that allowed the adoption of children that were born out of wedlock due to the loose morals that the European soldiers entered into while being in Indonesia were approved in Europe. The intermarriage consequently gave rise to multi-cultured generation that was new in the European countries. The inculcation of different cultures made Mata Hari to change her identity and try to conform to her new status brought about by the culture crisis that had changed her husband (Shipman, 2007).
In The Philosophy of History of India by Hegel, the author compares the Chinese and Indian doctrines in religion and culture. The European entry into the Far East also impacted on the culture of India. In China, the behavior of the natives was controlled by old beliefs from the old forefathers who instituted laws that governed the morals of the people and were followed strictly by the natives. The legislation in China made all members of the society equal, and there was no segregation of class or creed. Unity in difference was emphasized in China as no power was seen to subdue the unity of people as one soul. Any distinctions between them were taken as natural that could not allow an individual to be independent. The person was recognized as not have chosen the position to occupy. The religion of Chinese had put everybody at the same level and the religious elements related to everyone. They believed that God determined the actions of all the human beings. Chinese dearly held every detail and history of their country and considered the land as their state. The culture of the natives of China shows that they were realistic, intelligent and embraced the idealism of existence. Marriage and love were discrete in Chinese culture and morality was of paramount importance.
In India, the idealism was only imaginative and existed only in the minds of different individuals. The caste system placed the people into different categories that were bound by strict rules that were followed by the natives. The power of the caste ruled, and each member had to submit to the dictates of the caste system. The distinctions influenced the way of life of the people politically, socially and in religious consciousness. No one was allowed to cross the design of the caste system notwithstanding the morality, freedom of the soul and consciousness of the individual. Being deceitful, stealing or robbing and murdering were taken as normal in the Indian social order. Men were allowed to marry up to three wives.
Killing of animals was prohibited in China. Chinese people treated them with passion and reverence as they considered the animals as creatures that had been isolated from the spiritual realms and a series of divine persons. The Chinese talked of their old kings sincerely and opined that they vanished from the real world only to re-appear in the form of other kinds of lives. Due to the influx of Europeans in India, their culture eroded as they became assimilated by the new European culture. In contrast, Chinese culture was stable and did not experience severe influence of European culture.
The author who wrote the biography of Mata Hari had compiled the text during the time when Europeans were starting to settle in the East Indies. They have sent their soldiers there during the colonization to protect the interest of colonialists. During that time, the cultures of the natives and colonialists were not influencing one another as controversial perspectives existed. Mata Hari was amazed by the behavior of the residents of Indonesia as they were also not comfortable with her ways of dressing and talks.
In the philosophy of India, the author has also compiled the text in the pre-colonial days when the natives of the countries of China and India had not been subjected to the effects of European culture. The same factors helped to distinguish different cultures and the impact on them before the European colonization. The texts compare the cultures being analyzed during the same period.
In comparison, the documents are similar since both compare different cultures of people and the influence they had on each other. In the documentary on Mata Hari, the impact of Indonesian culture could be seen on Rudolph, the European soldier, who has completely changed and adopted the immoral behaviors of Indonesians. Mata Hari was influenced by the immoral culture and continuously changed her identity while moving from one place to another. Her dances were performed using traditional regalia of the Indian origins. Indonesian women have also been changed as they hoped that European men could accept them due to the new laws in Europe that allowed them to benefit from the out-of-wedlock births. The action of Rudolph’s kept mistress to poison Harold so as to keep the attention of Rudolph away from his wife shows the changes that had occurred to the natives.
In the documentary The Philosophy of History, the influence of European culture contributes to the rise in rebellion in Indian families. The sons started to hate their fathers and molest their mothers. The beliefs in the Hindoo life changed as people developed more imaginative understanding with more prosaic life that is intact and real (Hegel & Sibree, 1956). In contrast, Chinese culture was steadier and did not experience the influence of European culture. Their culture was firm, real and well defined that could not be diverted to any opposite direction by the European culture.
The most unexpected happening was that while European culture was expected to dominate over the other cultures, it happened that the immigrants were the ones who were influenced by the culture of the natives. Europeans had a sense of superiority over the people of Indonesia as they could hire dozens of the native people, who were comparably poor, to work for them, but were later influenced by Indonesians. Chinese culture could also subdue European culture as it remained intact despite the presence of the culturally stronger Europeans.
The differences in the two texts are based on the use of the personalities to bring the contrasts in the cultures. The author used various individuals to compare the two different cultures. Mata Hari and Rudolph were European immigrants who came to Indonesia with their western culture into the traditional legacies of the East. The nyais and babu depict Indies culture that was practiced before the colonialists arrived. In the second text, the writer uses different countries to compare the cultures. Chinese culture is compared to Indian culture before the entry of the British to the countries.
The differences in the texts bring out the scenario that was not expected by the European individuals. Mata and her husband Rudolph were influenced by the traditional culture when expectation was that the natives should be affected by the superiority of the westerns. The reason of this was that the number of immigrants was smaller than the number of the natives. Another unexpected happening was that Indian culture was influenced more by European culture than the Chinese even though the number of immigrants was small. The change was caused by the fact that Indian culture was unstable while the Chinese was stable and connected to reality.
The implication of the two comparisons brings out the impact that British colonial rules had on the cultures of their colonies. The influence of Europeans in India and the rest of the world changed the beliefs, behavior and even the religions of the natives of the colonies (Hegel & Sibree, 1956). European colonists went to the countries with the imagination that the natives were unreliable and could not interpret their cultures. They wanted to define the traditional religions in their own contemporary western understanding of Christianity. In India, the formation of Hinduism as a religion was due to the influence of the British colonialism. Developments in the economies of the colonies also reflect the impact of the colonialists as they had set up industries in the colonies that generated incomes to the native employees. However, the fusion of different cultures also brought out poor societal ethics among the natives and the immigrants. The immoral behavior witnessed in Mata Hari is due to the creation of a new order of life that Rudolph had been introduced.
In conclusion, the unique mix of different cultures in a society has enough impacts to improve the livelihood of the society in place. The Indian state has become unified and stable today due to the influence of European colonization. The creation of a multi-cultured race in Europe is due to the intermarriages between different people of diverse cultures. The fusion of different cultures has helped to understand and break the cultural barriers and reduce the validity of one culture to be dominant over any other in the world. It will eventually make the world to be a place where people understand one another and live in harmony with all cultures.