East and West

Dragon Boat Racing in China

There is perhaps nobody who examined the vast differences between the mindset of the Eastern men and the Western thought than the American philosopher F. S. C. Northrop, who taught philosophy at Yale in 1923.

In his book, The Meeting of East and West he stated that the Western mind has been continuously searching for the theoretical component of existence — the causal link for how things happen, what is the cause, how the effect can be controlled, basically how man can manipulate nature.

Contrary, the traditional Eastern Mind is on a more contemplative and more striving towards the aesthetic. Balance and harmony.

The East traditionally seeks to find the aesthetic component of reality — not the theoretical, but the aesthetic.
Obviously, the western mind is in constant struggle and turmoil. It seeks to control nature and it is not always a winning battle. It has enlisted science and technology for this formidable task but in this striving many things backfired.
The expression of the east and west is not geographical anymore.

Sadly, there is overwhelming western mentality when you visit the east. And often you find, in isolated pockets, the revival of the eastern thought when you roam the United States or Europe. Geography and mindset is often in contrast.

In isolated cases you can still find the east in the places where you normally would seek, Japan, China and India. In the macro sense the west permeated with its ideology and technology all over the eastern hemisphere. It has reached a technological and industrial dominance, and we see the backlash in climate change and pollution everywhere.

The Western mind is the male component and the East is the female. Essentially, the Eastern ideas of harmony and balance are of love and the Western striving for control and power is of domination and struggle. From this chain of thought, it is clearly can be derived that the Eastern mind, if can be found, is more spiritual.
The Western mind is insatiable it always wants more; it wants it faster, smaller. It is never satisfied. The Eastern mind knows that overreaching is both illusionary and misleading.

In China they developed technology, they developed gunpowder; they developed all that was later developed in the west. Five thousand years ago they developed everything, and then they felt the meaninglessness of it – the same way it is now felt in the west. They felt that it was useless.
When they felt that it was useless, they turned to the opposite extreme. They said, `Now turn inward’.

The “Middle Kingdom” had turned itself away and became isolated. It became vulnerable. Shrouded in mystery and isolation it became a target of the west.

We must find the balance of technology that serves us, used in harmony and balance with nature so we can remain free. When pills and technology controls every single aspect of our lives, that is no longer WE are in control but as science fiction would have it, the robots took over.

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4 Responses to East and West

  1. Lewis says:

    You are attacking western civilization yet you hypocritically enjoy the benefits and comfort it allows you. You live here don’t you? Walk the talk and move to some Asian country where they will abuse you at their whim. I have lived all over Asia and let me assure you they are ruthless savages, with no regard of human or animal life. I am happy to be back home in the grand ol’ USA with all its follies….


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    • Caren says:

      I do not agree with your assessment of the post. It is an honest criticism of the ills and maladies we are facing all over the world. This includes the environmental disasters caused by industry that works at overcapacity and produces trash or useless items that we end up throwing away, creating an even more environmental problem. As western civilization rolled over the world, greed, corruption and crime followed. Exploitation of people and total lack of moral and ethical backbone is the manifestation of this. This can be carefully traced back to the original idea of western thought and controlling our environment and the world.

      with Love,

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  2. Zola says:

    It’s true that there are those who have very little in the world, but it does not seem to hinder their ability to find a sense of oneness with this earth. I have sort of let spiritual self slip a bit and get caught up in a lot of the busyness of everyday life. Then I saw a great movie at the Hot Springs Film Festival on the subject of Spirituality and Religion. It’s from the director of one of my favorite TV shows , The Office, which always helps me to have a sense of humor about being stuck in the 9-5 rut and seeing it for what it is. I’ve heard that it’s Theaters this summer. I highly reccommend it, especially for anyone who is a it skeptical of spirituality.

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  3. Pingback: Blavatsky's Baboon and other ideas(books) of the New Age(Western Tradition) - Interfaith forums

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