( Depth of Knowledge Strength of Knowledge and the Pillars of Truth )
Philosophy is the science of wisdom. Actually, the literal meaning of philosophy is love of wisdom, love meaning “philo,” and wisdom meaning “sophy.” I chose philosophy as a precursor for this discussion because modern day academia regards philosophy as a western convention only!
Although Eastern philosophy is studied in rigor and depth in American Universities, some academics do not regard Eastern Philosophy as a traditional philosophy, and in some instances, has never been recognized as a true European style dogma by a minority of Western academics, which could be taken to mean that people in Greater East Asia have either a different type of interpretation of wisdom or a lack thereof …. It is because of this by western academia that I believe the spread of Western fundamentalist thought has permeated the collective conscious in our time, and has done more harm than good in the evolution of thought through-out the world, including Asia and Asia minor.
Had the West been more flexible in its interpretation of philosophical dogma, and how it related to discourse for Asians centuries ago, the way present day Asian thinkers interpret thought today, the Western world would be far more refined in terms of depth and scope and less imposing.
Had Westerners paid more attention to the likes of Shundai Zatsuwa of Kyuso Muro, a Japanese philosopher who fused the thoughts and ideals of Confucianism into a palatable Japanese aesthetic we could see just a small measure of refinement between both schools of thought.
For example: Chinese philosophers tended towards humanism rather than spiritualism; rationalism rather than mysticism; and syncretism rather than sectarianism. Western philosophy,however, ultimately sought to define the ‘ absolute’ and to make sense of our world and how it related to Judeo Christian values rather than practical and ethical ideals.
Around 1897, Western philosophy had appeared in China through translations, and in the next decade many Western philosophical ideals were brought to China by students returning from North America and Europe. Western philosophy was most influential in 20th-century China, and promoted “pragmatism” and “materialism” which are the anti-thesis of idealism.
One such Western Philosopher that appeared in Chinese print was John Dewey. He was considered a thought reformer whose teachings emphasized the individual, not the government. Remember, the teachings of Confucius were based off of these virtues: kindness, uprightness, decorum, wisdom, and faithfulness, which constitute the whole of human duty. Reverence for parents, living and dead and a paternalistic government. The teachings of Confucius also admonished individuals to observe carefully their duties toward the state whereas western teachings corrupted the state and the family nucleus by putting the individual before government. These were the seeds of Western imperialism.
The fact that Western philosophy is so fundamentally ingrained in today’s thinking, even to the point where most people aren’t even aware of its unnoticeable affects of our perceptions is a bit challenging. The notion that the self is more important than society is equally as challenging.
The late Mr. Martin Heidegger, who was regarded by some academics, as the most original and influential thinker of the 20th century and imminent philosopher of our time, was a supporter of Hitler and the pro Nazi movement. Can you believe that? He was the definitive genius of our time. Gees, how fundamentally Western can you be? And we esteem this man in the highest regard as an original thinker, a man who supported one of the most evil tyrants of our time, a man who murdered six million Jews and millions more Slavs and Gypsies!
Aristotle, another god of academia, justified slavery, was he even better? Yes, but you get my point. Subsequently, Western philosophical thoughts have been the defining element in how people have been defining the world we live in, even today, but does that mean it is the right philosophy of today?
All of Man has been searching for the 'absolute' for centuries, some may call that just what it is, the absolute while others may claim that some strange force working behind the scenes is the cause of our reality. Why are we here? Who are we? What makes us a person? These were questions posed by the father of modern philosophy himself, Descartes. And, though he was bestowed this title, many of his ideas have been disproven. The only thing he was able to prove was his own existence.
What I hope to clear up in this essay is the enormous gap between those who speak for the world, in terms of what true thought and knowledge is and how that thought is interpreted vs. those that seek the ultimate truth or the greater good for all man through one form of ideology. The Existentialist were, for example, the anti-philosophers and the philosophers were always anti-existentialist who were constantly arguing amongst themselves. For instance, Pascal was anti-Dakar; Kierkegaard was anti-Hegel; Nietzsche was anti-Socrates; Albert Camus was merely a Pagan and was perhaps the most enlightened of them all for he sought neither to unify god nor man, but rather to discard all forms of Judeo Christian thought completely.
This is the crux of my argument and this is where I feel Camus was on to something – get rid of the middle man. Sure, the West Asians had Allah and Europe had Jesus Christ, but Christianity only gave man spiritual equality whereas Islam gave man universal brotherhood regardless of color or ethnicity. Sounds good, no? Just another crutch for the mind to believe in, maybe? I think believing in a set of Principles may serve man better than if he were to merge the absolute into his own existence, personal opinion.
Many great thinkers and philosophers have come out of West Asia and one such great teacher was a man by the name of Mevlani, a Muslim scholar who was a 13th century mystical philosopher, who proved that the earth rotated on its axis in the 14th century through the first construction of a globe. So even the West Asians, though religious, embraced the notion of science and reasoning.
Unfortunately for Europe, during this time many of Europe’s greatest thinkers were being persecuted for going against Western philosophical thought and religion and for their beliefs in science which to me sounds a bit odd since Europe is/was regarded as the cradle of modern day civilization by many present day academics when in fact they were still learning, but yet they produced some of the finest thinkers in history ??? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever considering the disparity between the real scientist and the religious zealots who dictated how the world was supposed to be understood. Who am I to argue?
China, before Mao, was a marvelous civilization with advanced technology even more so than the Roman Empire. Even Genghis Khan, ruler of the Mongols, was advanced in so many ways and partly why is because he practiced tolerance, and allowed Chinese engineers ( who he conquered) to serve in his armies. These men were responsible for building Khan’s catapults and flame throwers and refining the Mongols attack capabilities. In addition to that, the Mongols had no written language, no libraries, no organized religions, no sciences, no philosophy, but yet they came to rule more land and territory than the Roman Empire! Traditionally Genghis Khan would’ve killed all of his enemies, but he became more civilized in not doing so, thus making him truly an example of what he didn't need, and what he needed to be successful.
In the case of the United States, which has been a traditionally Christian nation, slave and master served the same god. When African Americans were getting beaten and lynched they were praying to their masters(slave owners) god for mercy. White slave owners worshipped and served the Judeo Christian god on Sunday and then Monday through Saturday they enslaved and sold human beings like chattel and live stock. No other idiocy existed to that degree in history, not even in Ceaser's day! How can a slave and a master serve the same god? How can a slave love his master and his master’s god even to his last breath ?
(“ Maybe god loves some and hates the other”).
Western religion, philosophy, and history mixed together can be a volatile and reckless combination of scholarly aggrandizing that has arguably done more harm than good. The world has been waking up to more humanistic ideals, and a lot of what that really means is that nations are becoming more empathetic towards other nations and nationalities. It’s the U.S. unilateral foreign policy that’s exclusionary and terror oriented and illogically bringing instability to the world that we all live in and share with one another, thus a flagrant and ugly display of Western fundamentalism through religious dogma, distortions of history and philosophy – from a western point of view from as far back as antiquity. This West is Right mentality has poisoned the minds of over half the world.
Finally, when thinking about my own convictions, I am left with the realization that the only things in life that really matter for me are the mature sexy Japanese women, hot spas, and delicious sake and Japanese cuisine, and Shrines. Very little thought is required and very little soul searching. Too many people invest too much energy in the unknown and the improvable waters of knowledge, which leads me to another point I want to make.
There is clearly a difference between what you can prove and what you cannot prove. What goes up must come down. This scientific principle no matter how smart or dumb you are can never be argued or disproved. However, the unprovable truth, where people choose to believe a lie so much to the point where they throw away all forms of logical and rational thought is the all too prevailing trend of today’s societies. A mother could send her son off to go and fight in Afghanistan and Iraq because she firmly believes that if he doesn’t go and fight, the “enemy” will some how attack America in full force and take away our freedom.
The month of November is the month that Mr. Mishima Yukio took his own life for the sake of principle through sacrifice. His own living god was not some fictitious white man in the sky who benevolently looks down on us peoples, and then decides who he loves or chooses more than the other. Mishima’s god was real, his god being the emperor of Japan. And through ritual disembowelment he ended his life.