Edward Said is one of the intellectuals quoted by the right and the left in cultural issues. His major work orientialism is criticize how the west see other culture only from their own perspective. His thinking is a hallmark for the post-colonial theories and is heavily influenced by post-modernism. I watched his speech The Myth of the Clash of Civilization about his critics on the clash of civilization theme in the post cold war era. Some intellectuals, especially the right wing claim in the next century, the world conflict will be from the clash of civilization, the West, the Confucianism and the Muslim are the three major players fighting for global domination. Edward Said is right that this view is too simplified by categorize people into the we vs them. There is are difference inside a civilization and generalizing everyone within under the umbrella of a single culture is misleading. Moreover, culture and tradition are not static, they are in the constant flux of change. His conclusion and the suggested route seems too naive, everyone just hug each other then we will have world peace. His post-modernism background misleads him to reject there exists universal value. I follow the enlightenment tradition and think different civilization are in difference stage in finding the universal truth. The core of all civilization are the same universal value, on the surface there are different culture preferences service difference taste of the people. The West are not imposing their culture on the Muslims, the more advance culture are just helping the slower culture to ascend into the next stage. Japan is a good example of successful transform, China is following the same path. The conflict is not between the difference of the cultures, rather it is the force holding back all the cultures and the force move them forward.
The video is separated into 5 parts. It is interesting that the first part is watched by over ten thousand people, while the last part is only watch by two thousand people. Looks like most people cannot sit thought a pure intellectual speech on serious topics.