GRE Issue Essay 219

“Tradition and modernization are incompatible. One must choose between them.”

The given issue that tradition and modernization are not compatible is an extreme view taken by the writer. He is of the opinion that tradition and modernization oppose each other and it is not possible to adopt both at the same time. This leaves us to choose one of them, as we cannot be modern as well as traditional at the same time. However, I do not agree with this view and I believe that it is possible to strike a balance between these two. A person can have a modern outlook as well as follow traditional principles according to his choice. They need not come in the way of the other; on the other hand, with logical thinking, tradition and modernization can be adopted in a way in which they complement each other.

There has been a sea change from the olden times to the present. Where people used a hand fan earlier, they use electric fans and air conditioners today. Where they used to travel on foot, they have started commuting through motorcars. With the progress in technology and scientific know-how, there have been many innovations that have not only changed the way people live but also the way people think. Therefore, modernization stands to affect not only our standard of life by making it more comfortable, but also changes the way things are perceived. However, the point is, whether it is possible to retain the traditional values and principles along with having a modern outlook and standard. According to me, it is. It is possible to be progressive as well as remain simple at the same time. For example, a person can be modern in believing in science and technology, but this does not mean that he must lose faith in religion or God. He can follow his rituals and traditions along with using all the technological comforts that modernization offers.

In today’s world, there is the western American society, which adopts modernization in its fullest form, as well as the traditional society of the Arab countries, which restrict themselves to the traditional form of living as well as thinking. However, along with these two extremes, there exists a large part of the world that not only is on the path of progress and modernization, but also believes in holding on to their culture and traditions. The Chinese society for example, is one of these types of societies where we can find a blend of modernization as well as traditional values. Not only is China one of the leading countries due to its modern technology, but the people of China are also simple and followers of traditional values and faith.

As far as compatibility of modernization and tradition is concerned, I believe that there can be perfectly harmonious compatibility between the two. One need not choose only one of these, but can adopt the best traits of both, without any conflict between the two. A person can be educated as well as modest. It is possible to believe in modernization by supporting girl-education as well as to believe in family values and togetherness. While modernization makes it possible to be aware of your rights and duties, it is also possible to have faith in elders and abide by their words. Having a broader outlook is a modern trait that can be adopted along with the traditional principles, which ask a person to live in a joint family. However, modernization should not be confused with westernization, which alienates us from our traditions. Once this is understood, it will be easier to understand how tradition and modernization can co-exist.