Sunday, July 20, 2014

There is a sociological concept called the "East-West dichotomy

Good point by Jay Walker. The East-West Dichotomy indeed marginalizes African cultures (and South-American ones, by the way), but that is largely because European imperialism and colonialism took care of their traditions -with fatal consequences for their declining significance in World history, as we know today.

Likewise, the Slavic territories (Russia, Eastern Europe) and the Middle East were not mentioned enough in the book, partly for limited time and research, but also because those cultures either allied with the West or the East; never did they command or constitute a hemisphere of their own. Islam is largely considered an Oriental cultural system, while Russian-Orthodox is considered an Occidental cultural system respectively. I am well aware that these are generalizations (which are inevitable in philosophy), and that there are plenty of Western elements in Islam (it is, after all, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion) borrowing heavily from the Judaic-Christian tradition; and likewise that a case could be made for the Slavs, because of their geographical destiny, to be thinking people of the East, which by their historical loyalty to Christianity and their fondness of the Greco-Hellenic tradition they are clearly not.

In the end, however, we still talk about "the East" and "the West", and all people, no matter from which part of the world, see themselves as belonging (or leaning toward) either the Eastern hemisphere or the Western hemisphere; while someone who claimed he belonged to nowhere or fell in between, I'm afraid, has no meaningful category to hold onto.

"Politically-minded people and others express it when they allude to "the West", "Western ideas" or make statements about the "East", or "Eastern philosophy". Basically, the East-West dichotomy is used to identify and categorize all world cultures and political systems by way of a single, rigid, binary socio-political model. Dividing the world by who and what is "Western" & "Eastern." Thorsten J. Pattberg reveals his own flawed reasoning with such an over-simplied deduction of the world, in his book The East-West Dichotomy." --Jay Walker, Love Hate Black White