Do We Need the Wisdom of the East ?

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Myles, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    I think the major different between 'West' and 'East' is this:

    As far as Buddhism is concerned, (right) thinking is done and used as a means to an end, namely the cessation of suffering. Something which is of personal relevance and recognition to the person themselves.

    The 'Western' direction and use of thinking seem to be almost entirely self-referential, with little or no relevance for the person employing the thinking. 'Serving a higher purpose which is beyond the individual person' seems to be the motto.
     
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  3. sniffy Banned Banned

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    Where is the line between 'East' and 'West' drawn?
     
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  5. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    This has been touched upon earlier in the thread. I'm not sure where exactly, but there was an elaboration on it.
     
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  7. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Speaking of irony...

    But then there is much mention of compassion and right relation, if memory serves me, also in Buddhism.

    I do like the reversal of the cliche 'selfish individualistic Westerners' in your analysis as actually lured into disvaluing themselves. I am not sure it holds or is complete.

    But in relation to 'truth' I think there is definitely something in what you say. One aligns with 'the truth' - text, expert. You sort of hook your caravan up to it and follow it down the road. Whereas in Buddhism there is no car to hook up to. In fact you are repeatedly dehooked from a variety of cars.
     
  8. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Generally above the Equator and below the northernmost Himalayas. But probably West of them.

    I think that answer is correct, in terms of usage - and appropriately vague - and so silly it approaches sin, a concept I have little use for usually.
     
  9. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Silly me.


    I think genuine guilt would be regret and remorse. Guilt to me always denotes a mixed state:
    The self turns back on the self with a hammer.

    Which is not so with remorse where it is not so much about yourself but about the other - even if the other is the self.

    Guilt would be an excellent topic for a thread.
     
  10. Gustav Banned Banned

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    and esoterism for this thread
    perhaps a clue if valid
    east and west meet in this thing called a homo sapien

    what does esoterism mean to you
     
  11. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Let's not forget indigenous wisdom

    by the dominant forces both West and East

    treated so poorly.

    Ah, these high cultures....
     
  12. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    Yes - and it is emphasized that compassion be applied wisely.
    There is even the term 'idiot compassion' to denote the compassion of people who are unwisely compassionate.


    My 'analysis' is certainly provocative, and I know many who disagree with it.

    But 'Western' ideals about individuality -so highly praised- have always given me the creeps. Because what is it that is truly 'I' or 'mine'? All those things that supposedly make up one's 'individuality' - can they really be said to be 'I' or 'mine'? Is there anything that I have or am, that is not inherited, borrowed, bought, stolen, given, or somehow acquired? I can see no such thing. Perhaps some other people have such things.

    'Western' ideals about individuality expect me to identify with things that are not I or mine. They expect me to claim something to be I or mine that I know cannot possibly be I or mine.
     
  13. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Which fits with some of the points we both made earlier. I brought up compassion because it is aimed at another being, for their good, and your own, or so I always took it, not simply your own.



    Well, it's interesting. Buddhism as selfish and Westernism as in this way selfless: it is demanded that you follow certain external authorities - often experts - and try to make your experience fit their 'truths'. Also to move from experience into abstraction and rest there. And if anything is 'not self' it is abstraction.

    Whereas in Buddhism the direction is reversed.

    I have taken individualism as more related to what I do and how I express myself. I can see one making a case that these verbs, so to speak, are also ones I have inherited, borrowed, bought, stolen, given, or somehow acquired and the styles in which I do these - 'my' adverbs - are also inherited, borrowed, bought, stolen, given, or somehow acquired. But then I am not sure that is true. I think those are layered over something more essential. Or are filters for it. Limits, impositions, masks. But that's the non-Buddhist in me. I could make a case either way.

    What did you mean here?
     
  14. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    Yes. I am getting intensely emotionally invested here - What I have always hated about 'Westernism' is this having to bow to some external authority, always this someone or something else being more important than me.
    "I should give up my own happiness so that my neighbor can be happy." But my neighbors wouldn't do that for me!


    The part I bolded - I don't know about this.
    I agree that in 'Westernism', abstraction is praised. But I don't understand what you mean 'And if anything is 'not self' it is abstraction'?


    'I' or 'mine' as in: my work, my poem, my book, my painting, my house, my illness, my health, my words, my thoughts; I the intellectual, I the peasant, I the good person, I the bad person, I the stupid person, I the weakling, I the hero, I the amassing of matter, I the soul - and so on.

    Colloquially, these identifications are of course usually true.
    But strictly speaking, they are not; they are true only conditionally on time and various other circumstances. Yet 'Westernism', as I experience it, expects me to identify with some things unconditionally, regardless of circumstance; moreover, it expects me to accept the identifications that other people assign to me, especially if it is people of a 'higher rank' than mine.
     
  15. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Hating seems to me fundamentally a pushing away of something that does not feel good - often because it is not respecting us. Seems fine to me.

    As far as the ethical side of the above, I am not sure this is restricted to the West, but I don't have the experience to be sure. If I can make a jump it sounds like the appeal of Buddhism is the lack of morals, per se. I also think the Western Religions have tended to view selfishness in ways that are very problematic and I am sure hunmanists still have vestiges of these judgements. If I cannot love and treat with respect what is nearest to me and what my nerves penetrate, how can I possibly love and treat with respect something further off. Mistreating myself and (or in the name of) being loving to others creates a guilt debt (a la Jesus or Abraham).

    It just felt right at the time. To think it out: Me walking around with 'do unto others as I would...' in my head and using it as a guideline for my actions, on occasion; So I have this thought. Then I have feelings, urges, experience or more tangible inner and outer phenomena. That abstractions seems very ephemeral and an introject. Perhaps other things are too, but it seems very clearly not me.





    I got this. I will have to think about it.
     
  16. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    many texts telling me what I am - with implicit 'shoulds' and practical rules attached.
    many texts telling me what I am not - with implicit 'shoulds' (even if these are seemingly practical shoulds) and 'suggestions' (which are defacto rules).

    What I am and what I am not.
    What I should do, and what I am, by definition, not capable of or the agent of and can never become the agent of this.

    In the end neither positive nor negative external definitions are pleasant to me nor have they fit my experience.

    Is it really any better to listen to an Eastern expert who tells me I am not this and not that and this is what I should do - and it is the only thing I can do - to end my pain?

    I have found it to be more complicated and I'm glad.

    (by the way, in relation to 'hate'. The reification of this process into a word that can then be called bad. Defining, and then refining us with the word.)
     
  17. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    Yes!
    It is interesting how neither positive nor negative external definitions are appealing or fitting.
     
  18. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    So, since we are bombarded consistantly with implicit and explicit definitions of who and what we are and aren't (and participate in this ourselves) - what is the best practical way of dealing with these (distorted) reflections of ourselves?

    Can we use it to notice things we did not before? And how?
    Or is it simply noise to learn how to disregard?
     
  19. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    Good questions. I shall get back to you on this.
     
  20. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    These are very relevant questions! Thank you for bringing them up.

    I'll attempt to answer them, but my thoughts on this are anything but conclusive so far:

    1. In the face of the dilemmas arising from implicit and explicit definitions of who and what we are and aren't, the obvious best course of action seems to be to talk and think only when necessary, and only in ways that are necessary.
    Set for oneself a goal and refrain from anything that does not pertain to accomplishing that goal.

    2. Understand that from different vantage points, the same thing might look even completely different. Different people have different vantage points, hence they see 'different things'.

    3. Make usefulness and conducive to accomplishing one's goal one's main criterion for accepting or rejecting things and statements, instead of that main criterion being 'truth'.
    Despite common sense and intellectual tradition, 'truth' makes for a very poor criterion for accepting or rejecting things and statements - because 'truth' seems to be so relative on circumstance/context/outlook that pretty much anything can pass as 'truth'.


    - But I'll need to think about this some more, it is very relevant to me.
     
  21. Frud11 Banned Banned

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    "As falsity is like a dissonance, truth is like a resonance."
     
  22. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    I took this as a strong support for intuitive reactions to things, such as reflections we get from others. Let me know if that is correct.

    I think the trick is to know when one is reinforcing a false self+image to maintain secrets from oneself and when one is getting closer to a true image.

    But I agree.

    Sometimes resonance must be unsettling.
     
  23. Frud11 Banned Banned

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    The mirror may not reflect, or re-radiate an image that is settling?

    Communication is a form of entrainment (my current favourite word, along with words like "resonance", and some I make up as I go), and entrainment implies relaxation. A state, of lowest energy, or entropy. The path of least resistance.
    Do we communicate? Does it matter if belief is part of it, and so meaning?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008

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