The Modern Globalizing Culture:
Growing Communication and Information

Dr. Andreas Eppink
Malaga, Spain


I have chosen the term “Modern Globalizing Culture” to indicate a cultural shift that is progressing all over the world, characterized by a rise of two supporting Hidden Goals (HGs) [1]: Communication and Information, slowly advancing with ups and downs since Muslim and European Renaissance.


In West-Europe, Stability was surpassed, the until the 1960's prevailing HG, which regression at all levels had been accelerated by World War II. Modern Globalizing Culture implies important common features concerning means and methods: technological instruments, a variety of communication media, information strategies (e.g. strategic management), and financing strategies (mainly used by rich governments and multinationals to grow). The means and methods of Modern Globalizing Culture help raise the living standard of many (certainly in the “West”) but creates stronger contrasts as well. The possibilities of globalization imply as many opportunities as dangers: both good and evil have free access to the benefits of Modern Globalizing Culture. Communication, free travel, and free knowledge can be applied for both positive and negative forces. Thus strengths can become weaknesses.


The overkill of information causes lack of information, as we have seen concerning intelligence on terror. And together with the means of communication, vulnerability and incertitude may grow too, as the greater the number of junctions of communication - which are the most vulnerable points within a system - the more danger.  Planes or chemicals, as examples, may facilitate life, or may be used as weapons. The Internet, mobile telephones, money and financing, can all be used for good as well as for evil. This is the general picture.


Modern Globalizing Culture shows two faces: an improved living standard, as well as a striking contrast between the poor and the rich. Beyond a moral judgment, several questions arise: Is globalization causing or, on the contrary, diminishing impoverishment? Or is it spurious to infer a correlation between the two? Does globalization just throw the light on existing impoverishment due to advanced means of communications?

The most daring statement I hope to support is: Modern Globalizing Culture is the best culture we have had until now (see the above criteria), however it is not the thinkable best. Which means it can still better. And we, as a people, must do better.


Chandler's famous book, “Scale and Scope, the Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism” shows the prelude of industrial globalization (since the 1850's in America, England, and Germany). The strength and continuity of multinationals is based on their managerial capabilities which are nothing else than making good use of information and communication potentials. Economic growth proved to be beneficial, not only for the enterprises themselves, but eventually for the masses as well.  Nevertheless, if greed grows in blind expansive lust (as a sort of "Capitalistic Fundamentalism"), this will do harm. The outcome is discontinuity on economic, humanitarian, ecological, and political levels.


When I began this writing my intention was simply the analyzing of cultures by the concept of Hidden Goals. In the past ten years this concept had been used in management consultancy to analyze organizations, their discontinuity problems, and their chances to survive. During the writing process I discovered the usefulness of the concept, not only for simply analyzing cultures but also for detecting negative factors on people’s welfare within cultures. Thus I changed the focus of the ongoing book in this direction. In this process a position of cultural relativity (that being the concept that all cultures are equal) proved to be untenable.


The parallel between companies and cultures became evident[2]. Not all organizations or companies survive, though this is their very goal. The lack of capabilities and negative circumstances are two factors influencing a company’s discontinuity - and that of their participants as well. Continuity is always the outcome of the trio goals-capabilities-conditions. Yet, goals occupy a special place in the trio, particularly the Hidden Goals of people. In a culture as well as in an organization people’s Hidden Goals have to fit. The common HG's make a culture or company, and help them survive, provided they match up. On the contrary, contradictory goals, especially contradictory HG's, cause discontinuity. Especially, the obstructing HG's rise. Some HG's are even obstructing because they always hinder other goals, they are by definition unfitting, provoking discontinuity.[3]


Leaders appealing to the obstructing HG's in people, normally driven by their own obstructing HG's, become dangerous leaders. This will be illustrated by current examples such as bin Laden and the Ayatollah Khomeini. The interesting point is that in history both had their rather unknown predecessors. Enterprises managed by - more or less - dangerous leaders are also endangered. If, in an organization or culture, obstructing or contradictory HG's become structurally prevailing, discontinuity symptoms will occur on large scale. The same may occur as to globalization. Globalization, or Modern Globalizing Culture itself is not dangerous, only in combination with obstructing HG's it is. Modern Globalizing Culture is threatened by two new phenomena: globalized terrorism, and economical terrorists. In the enormities of energy giant Enron we saw not only the proof that obstructing HG's are capable to destroy an enterprise but a general proof of the weakness in Modern Globalizing Culture as well. It is the economical terrorists I will conclude this book with. But not before a thoroughly analysis the origins of Western and Muslim cultures.


Current events have made Muslims suspect of terrorist attitudes. All Muslims? Only the orthodox? All orthodox, or (all) fundamentalists, radicals, extremists, fanatics, activists, and militant Muslims? As we will see, distinctions like these are of little help. The question if Islam is a dangerous religion makes as little sense as the question if a knife is dangerous. All depends upon the user. Therefore we are more interested in the characteristics of the users than in the characteristics of the knife. A book is not suitable to analyze the features of all individual users, therefore one must categorize. Here, the choice is on culture (or cultural background), made operative by the theory of the relation between Hidden Goals. An analysis will make clear that neither a single Muslim culture nor a single Western culture exist. In the Muslim world of today and of the past, rather distinct cultures have developed. The names and appellations the believers have received, or with which they named themselves, reveals nothing about their different cultures. Orthodox Shiites and orthodox Sunnites live in different cultural worlds, and moreover, both cultural groups know many different forms of orthodoxy. But even the knowledge of these differences will not help to distinguish between the good and the dangerous.


The roots of Modern Globalizing Culture: Control, Stability, Information and Knowledge

1. Control and expansionism

Now set in motion, the forces of globalization are completely irreversible. The reason is that globalization is no recent phenomenon but is actually part of an ongoing non-linear process of mankind. In the past, among others, the Persians, Greek, Romans, (Muslim) Arabs, Mongols (both those who became Muslim converts, as those who accepted Chinese Confucianism and became “the Chinese”), Japanese, all have been successful globalizers, characterized by expansive Control, although the range of these historical cultures has been limited.


By the time the Roman Empire had disappeared almost entirely and Europe was divided into tiny kingdoms and principalities, expansive Arab tribes took over what had once been Rome’s position in the world. Within a relatively short time the Muslims possessed richness and splendor, dominated natural sources and treasures, the merchant routes, and science, in the then-known “world”. Much like the entire world today looks at the U.S.- in awe, admiration, fear or hate - and as today all eyes are directed to New York as the de facto capital of the world, in the early Middle Ages the Muslim world occupied much the same position. Cultural centers were, successively, the towns of Cordoba (in Spain), Baghdad (now in Iraq), Cairo (in Egypt), and Istanbul - the former Byzantine capital Constantinople - (now in Turkey). Cordoba had once been only a province town, founded by the Romans; on the other hand, Baghdad and Cairo, totally new-constructed caliphate residences, grew in no time into splendid world capitals. Of the Roman Empire - once a superpower - only a small part survived as the Byzantine Empire, and was progressively reduced until nothing was left other than its capital, Constantinople. After being seized by the Turkish Muslims (in 1452) Constantinople was renamed Istanbul. The city became the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was founded hundreds of years before by the Turkish Ottomans. The Ottoman Empire or Sultanate that lasted over five hundred and fifty years - until 1922 - soon ruled over all Muslim tribes and local rulers, expanding into North Africa, and into the European and Russian territories. By the time (middle 19th century) Turkey became “the sick man of Europe”, the Western powers of England, France, and Russia took over its possessions, and the colonization of the Muslim world had begun.


Still today, these facts dominate the international political scene. Colonization by Western powers, the struggle for independence of local rulers (who took over the idea of independent nations from their Western colonists over the Muslim concept of unity), the Balkan question (Yugoslavia), the Palestine-Israel question, the war between Iran and Iraq, the Gulf War, the recent Taliban question in Afghanistan, and so on, and so on: all of these political problems are still part of the Ottoman heritage.


West-European expansionism is, from a historical viewpoint, a relatively late phenomenon started by the Reconquerors (Crusaders included) whose religious wars were finished after the fall of Moorish Grenade (1492), and soon followed by the ‘discoveries’ of India (and the Far East) by the Portuguese, and of America by the Spanish (who thought it was India, and thus called it “the Indies”). The fall of Grenade put an end to Muslim government in West Europe but with this emerged the fear of “the Turkish danger”. Would the Moors collaborate with the Turks, and take revenge, perhaps destroying all of Europe? The Christian kings took rigorous measures, expelling all Moors from their territory (most of the Moors were killed), and leaving Andalucia in ruins. Moors were deported, and killed - even the Christian converts! - until the first quarter of the 18th century. Expelling Jews and Muslims was inspired by both political and religious motives, but was principally based on fear. Fear that the “unbelievers” would rebel (indeed, some did) or would ally with other Muslims (and that the Jews would finance such an alliance). But religious fear predominated. The fear that if unbelievers - now called “heretics” - would be tolerated to live with Christians, not only would the heretics would be damned but the Christian Kings themselves as well, for their tolerance. Thus, forced conversions, pogroms, and persecutions took place, from which not even third generation converts were excluded. The predominating fear for heretics culminated in the installation of the dreaded Inquisition, that curious mix of a political control and religious purge mechanism. This all is based on the obstructing Hidden Goal Inviolability, the hope to obtain a secured place in heaven.[4]


The impacts of the obstructing Inviolability-wish will be dealt with at large.

The result was discontinuity, especially economically, for the rich Andalucia was totally ruined after the Moors were expelled (the city and would not recover before the 1970's as the mass tourists came). In spite of the richness from the new American colonies, the Empire of the Habsburgs (Spain, the German and Italian countries, the prosperous Netherlands, Mexico and the Americas) - upon which the sun never set - crumbled within one century.


What remained was the European fear of “Allah’s sword” as the Turks were named, which determined a long lasting negative Western attitude against Islam, changing into a romantic admiration for all that was “Eastern”, in the 19th century, the period of Turkish decline.


2. Stability

Back to globalization. The conclusion is that justified that expansion and globalization are not Western inventions, but rather the contrary. The West was relatively late in “conquering” the world. Others had tried but never succeeded for long. The simple reason was that, technically the West was better equipped. Modern technical inventions spread all over the world, and have been absorbed by what I call Modern Globalizing Culture. It is these inventions that conquered the world, not the West as such.


Nevertheless these inventions are originally rooted in Western culture. Why did Western culture make and utilize these inventions? The answer is that in the West a combination of two Hidden Goals were responsible: Stability and Information.

In the early Middle Ages a large migration had taken place. The Roman Empire (Europe) was invaded by tribes from various regions. Most came from Asia, settled, and eventually mixed with the Germanic peoples who had to migrate as well. The Europeans became a racial mixture.


Some found a living as merchants or artisans in small towns, but most lived from agriculture. In the countryside, the HG Stability led to the establishment of the feudal political and economical systems. Very concisely and simply, the feudal system can be described as follows: free farmers offered their land (and capabilities) to a valiant - who became a local ruler - in exchange for protection and security, however, they and their offspring never could be thrown off their land; the so “enslaved”[5] farmers had, in case of war, to serve their masters as soldiers, and in times of peace to pay taxes. Thus a relative stability for the large farmers was established, rooted in a stabile heritage system. Through many regional variations and local sub-cultural deviations, the concept of social contract between rulers and farmers - and social contracts in general - was the basis for economic and political stability; this was especially so due to the fact that the economy was principally based on agriculture (until the 1850s).

Church, nobility, and monasteries came to be large landowners. A point of interest is that noble families provided the governors, bishops (the representatives of the church in Rome), and the superiors of large monasteries (which were juridical independent of the church).


In the next medieval centuries the leading pattern of rights and duties was elaborated into a juridical system of laws, as well as into a social system of social classes, with the church and the noble families at the summit. Of course, the system was not free of conflicts. The greed of expansive rulers - who later became kings, dukes, and counts, and even emperor - induced many small and large wars. Nevertheless among the farmers, and in times of peace, the (social) contracts prevailed. The system was quite rigid and conservative. For many, stability was equal to stable poverty. The economic situation of most farmers was rather unchanged until the 19th century. At that time the population had grown. To earn a living the young sons and daughters of farmers - excluded from heritage - became daily laborers, and still later fabric laborers. Or, they migrated to America.


The rigid class structure did not allow many economic or social changes. Persons belonging to the lower social classes could only move upward in society by becoming a member of the (low) clergy. And they had done so from the beginning. It was in the large monasteries that, along with the HG Stability, the HG Information rose in the ranking of Hidden Goals.


Before science had been secularized, the clergy produced knowledge, inventions (gunpowder was a monastic invention), and universities. Discipline, promoted by the HG Stability, also aided the development of science. Before long, to become a cleric was the only possibility to receive an education. The nobility was not interested in gathering knowledge. In the late Middle Ages the big merchant families in the towns, thanks to their international contacts and their desire for broad communication, would promote Information and Communication.


3. Renaissance: knowledge, the HG Information

Not all Europe was dominated by the fear of damnation and the hope to become invincible by faith (HG Inviolability), nor is this attitude the unique reason why Spain failed as a superpower. Nevertheless, the strong opposition against the Moorish “heretics” remained decisive. In Muslim Spain good basic schools had become common, and available even for the very poor, while in the rest of Europe even noblemen could scarcely write their own name. After the conquest of the Moors disdain against education grew. The “son of someone” (a literal translation of the Spanish hidalgo, i.e. someone who had any significance, a nobleman) was forbidden to learn or work!


It was this lack of knowledge, and the very disapproval of every education that led to the disintegration of the Spanish Empire. In politics, commerce, and knowledge, England, the Netherlands, and France took over. First in Italy, and later in northern European intellectual circles, a struggle took place between the HG's Inviolability and Information. Due to the Renaissance, knowledge gained victory over the fear of damnation. The Renaissance was succeeded by Humanism, and later by Enlightenment. A slow - still unfinished - process of rationalism transformed parochialism into a broader, more universal view.[6]


Several centuries before, Muslim theology doctors had condemned their own Renaissance philosophy (9th-13th century). Names like al Farabi (+950), ibn Sina (980-1037), and ibn Rushd (1126-98) became famous in the West under their Latin forms Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes.[7] These philosophers had been strongly influenced by classic Greek philosophers - especially Plato and Aristotle - whose works were translated into Arabic by converted Muslims. From the beginning, Muslim expansion changed the Arab-Bedouin character of Muslim culture in adopting the splendor and sciences of those they had conquered. Muslim culture became a mix of Islam, Arabic language, Persian-Byzantine colored political aspirations, and Greek-Hellenistic sciences.


Education and the sciences advanced to a level hardly attained in the West even centuries later. The Christian knights who went as Crusaders to the Middle East were, in the Muslim world, considered to be barbarians. Not unjustly, given their uncivilized manners, lack of education, and superstition. (E.g. in the West the level of medical science and medical care were pitiable, as was education.).


In Spain, the Christian conquerors adopted not only the civilized manners[8], and many customs from the “Moors”, but in particular, the Moorish knowledge of the sciences. Latin translations from the Arabic gave access to ancient Greek thinking, especially logic, which became the basics for a new scientific approach on all fronts, and even influenced theological thinking, especially apology[9]. Thus the Renaissance was born in the Muslim world.


The Renaissance has the meaning of the wish to know, to gather new information and to research. The Renaissance was looking for a new, broader reality that outstepped the old restricted frames of reference. The Renaissance is the predecessor of (rational) Enlightenment that in the 18th century stirred self-reflection, even self-criticism.


The dangerous mix: Inviolability + Approbation

The moralist’s problem: “We know best, we know what’s best for you.”

Parochial views are linked by two obstructing Hidden Goals: Inviolability and Approbation. Inviolability says: “Our God is only ours. He is a strong and almighty God who only protect our people, against our enemies.” By this conviction the classic Athenians and Spartans conquered their enemies, feeling themselves protected by their parochial gods (Athens, for example, was protected by a goddess, Athena).[10] The Inviolability-goal motivates people to strive for His continuous protection, in this world and in paradise. The fear to lose His protection, or fear of the last judgment and damnation are strong incentives.


Both the early Christians - especially the apostle Paul - and Mohammed tried to break with parochialism in proclaiming God’s universality: the one God was everyone’s God, not only the protector of respectively Jews or Arabs.[11] In the Muslim world, nevertheless, expressions of parochial Inviolability rose time after time, especially among the (Bedouin) tribes.


The Inviolability-goal is not restricted to religions. Also, the non-religious Inviolability-wish is expressed by an almighty political party, or ideology.


A less extreme expression of the Inviolability-wish is morality. Moralists have invented a variety of manners to save oneself from social or religious danger. All moralists proclaim: if you act in this (our) way, and if you refrain from certain acts - named “wrongdoing”, or “sin” -, if you follow this religion, this set of political beliefs, if you live according to these (our) rules, only then you will achieve, and obtain salvation, health, happiness, hail, paradise, the afterlife and so on. But in this system, one also attains social status, honor, and esteem. If you don’t act in our way, surely, you will fail and become totally lost (socially, religiously; in this life or after death).


Concerning the moralist-attitude, first a remark should be made on its link to the HG Order. Distinctions in general are the outcome of the HG Order, regardless of whether the distinction is made between red, orange and yellow; high, middle-high, and low; good, or bad; virtuous and criminal; civilized or barbaric; and so on. Values, whether religious, social, or political, are all the outcome of Order, as, to some degree, are philosophies, and ideologies. Laws, too, are the product of the Order-wish to regulate and to order daily life.


Distinctions as well as laws, however, are well fitting to serve other HG's. To serve the Inviolability-goal, distinctions become unconditional, absolute laws. To become Inviolable, one must adhere to the letter of the law; at least this is the conviction of many orthodox believers. Social and religious reformers like Jesus, Mohammed, Marx and others, tried to free their followers of the imprisonment of laws as well as (tribal, respectively class) distinctions.[12] Neither Jesus, nor Mohammed nor Marx were moralists; however the Marxist-Leninists, Khomeini, the Taliban, and bin Laden are.

Now another question arises: how can we distinguish between the “good”, and the “evil” (i.e. the dangerous)?


(Muslim) Orthodoxy: the good and the dangerous. Islam a dangerous religion?

In this book, the use of the adjective “dangerous” is deliberate; not to condemn but to enable to foresee (and prevent) damage.[13] Orthodoxy is, as such, an outcome of the Stability-wish, like all forms of traditionalism and conservatism, and by consequence not dangerous.


Following different - most local - traditions, orthodox Muslims may interpret Islam in quite different ways, and nevertheless call themselves very “orthodox”, as we will see in the next chapters.


Fundamentalists are those who are orthodox in the sense they want to go back to the origins of their faith, also back to the “real” tradition. Again, there are many potential interpretations of what these real traditions may have been.


As already has been mentioned, all religion is based on an Order-wish, making distinctions and laws.[14] As such “there will be no danger”.[15] As soon as these distinctions and laws are snatched by the HG Inviolability sticking to the letter of the law is the result. Still, there is no danger, depending on what the law demands. As to Islam, however, here a problem emerges. The demands of Holy War (Jihad), of hacking off hands, of stoning fornicators, etceteras, quoted out of their (deterrent) context (and contrary to the spirit of Mohammed’s) are harmful, and make potential dangerous followers, if promoted by the Inviolability-wish: to secure a place in paradise. All depends on the cultural leaders. As long as the Stability-wish prevails, the letter will stay a dead letter, and no action will follow.


Dangerous leaders don’t follow the Stability-goal, they follow an expansive wish to Control. To them the Holy-war-concept becomes very appealing. For that, they don’t have to be orthodox themselves, even not religiously inspired (most Christian Crusaders have been neither).


Yet, the wish to control, to rule and divide, is quite common among leaders of every denomination. Neither leaders nor managers can do without the Control-wish. Thus the mere HG Control makes not a leader dangerous. Concerning the cultural climate a dangerous leader wants to rule within, two additional conditions are due: parochial views, and frustrated (potential) followers.


To make a dangerous leader, in his ambiance - or culture - a combination of obstructing HGs must prevail. Opportunist followers - driven by all sorts of Ego-Satisfying goals - never will fail. They are ever present in each society, annoying but not too dangerous. The other obstructing HGs - Inviolability and Approbation - have to rise highest in the HG-ranking. In other words, parochial views, in combination with frustrated people are the very fertile soil for both fanaticism and dangerous leaders. As will be demonstrated in the chapter on fanaticism, the link between frustration and the combined Inviolability-Approbation-wish is psychologically understandable.


Parochial views prosper by (the combination of) the Approbation-wish and Inviolability-wish, in particular parochial views on morality. As to moralists the distinction between these two HGs becomes very small. We have already seen orthodoxy or traditionalism  (Stability-wish) is not dangerous in itself; morality (Order-wish) isn’t either. With the obstructing HGs rising in the ranking a rigid moralist culture emerges (“We know what is best for you, we know exactly how you must behave.”), that turns dangerous by a strong, controlling moralist leader (“We will force you to behave.”). Like the analyses of the Khomeini-case will show, the elements together build a dangerous bulwark.


BWW Society Member Dr. Andreas Eppink received his Doctorate degree in Social Sciences in 1977 from the University of Amsterdam, went on to study Clinical Psychology, and was officially registered as a Psychotherapist. He has worked as a Management Consultant, especially in the television, advertising, daily press, family business, transport, and public administration sectors, including work with the town of Maastricht. Prior to this, as an Anthropologist specializing in the study of culture, Dr. Eppink was a pioneer in the field of migration study, in particular mental health and occupation. In 1971 he founded the Averroes Foundation for the study of these areas. He headed this institute from 1978 to 1983, as it then became state run. He was an intergovernmental expert of the European Committee for Migration in Geneva, a member of the Board of Advisors to the Dutch Minister of the Interior, and an expert with different European committees in Strasbourg and Brussels.


[1]  The (in my model ten) Hidden Goals (HGs) are explained in the January-February 2002 issue of this Journal.

the very variance in degree and ranking of the HGs ‘makes’ a culrue or organization.

[2] On the other hand, the difference between organizations and cultures is: cultures need a certain balance between the HGs to survive, while organizations, generally, are prospering if focusing on one of the main HGs. See: A. Eppink, Management Development, Continuity, and Cultural Change (in Dutch).

[3] In particular, the HGs Inviolability and Approbation are obstructing. Their rising causes discontinuity.

[4] However, although much distress and discontinuity was the result of the Inviolability wish, a complete bloody mix, together with the obstructing HGs Approbation and InstantEgo-Satisfaction became not common.

[5] Cf. The current economical system: employees offer their time and capabilities in exchange for a salaried  job (secured income).

[6] Ancient China didn’t need a Renaissance thanks to her classic philosophers (Confucius, Meng-tze, Lao-Tze, Chuang-Tze, and others), however, in China  the HG Information became increasingly overruled by the HG Approbation (and in Maoism: by Inviolability).

[7] In 1017 the rationalist school of the Mu’tazilites had been condemned, like their successors the “Philosophers” were to in the next centuries.

[8] Al Gazali wrote a detailed book on etiquette that is still predominating in the daily life of the well-to-do in north Africa and many other Muslim countries. (I only know the famous German translation, by Hans Kindermann: Ueber die Guten Sitten beim Essen und Trinken. Leyde 1964.)

[9] Christian apology was restructured by the later Saint Thomas of Aquine on Muslim sources.

[10] Cf. the works of the historian Toynbee.++

[11] In the religious concept “God’s Reign is within you” - stated by both Christians and (especially the Sufi) Muslims, the HG Inviolability has disappeared.

[12] Cf. “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

[13] A court-expert in culture-related matters, I was not only to explain the cultural and psychological background of a suspect’s motives, but equally I had to estimate the impact these backgrounds could have in the future: what would be the chances of recidivism, and of possible danger for new damage?

[14] Law and religion are - as is said - the results of the Order-goal. Different combinations of HGs in the HG-ranking may explain different cultural climates.

Morality, religion, law, and ordering, are in itself rather neutral. “Rather”, but never entirely neutral, because each process of distinction and ordering contains, inherently, ongoing moments of judgment.

The very value judgments are the products of (1) the Order-wish combined with other HGs; (2) the transformation of the HG Order into another HG.

Especially, a transformation of the expressions of the HG Order into those of Stability, Control, Approbation, and Inviolability, or combined in one way or another, will create singular cultural climates.

By example, if products of the HG-order, like religion, are used, to serve other HGs, like expansive Control: so, peaceful Christianity changed completely, at the moment emperor Constantine and his successors - who thought the Christian God more mighty than the classic Roman gods - declared it the Roman state-religion, and forced the citizens to converse.

A second example concerning religion: a shift from order to Stability favors procedures, traditions, rites, and orthodoxy.

[15] “Their will be no danger” is frequently used in a Chinese classic, the I Ching.

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