Sonntag, Oktober 09, 2005


Where is the difference between the oriental and the occidental mentality?

This question became very important for me since I've heard the first time something about Alexander the Great in the history lesson ...

Accidentally I've found a very interesting statement to this subject by Prof. A.E. Jenks, of the University of Minnesota.

He says:"When we consider the Asiatic continental man as the oriental, and the American and western European as the occidental, there are, it seems to me, three fundamental cultural traits in which the oriental and the occidental have radically differed, and today do greatly differ, and in which conflict stimuli are active in contacts between the two.

First, the oriental is a peaceful, patient, plodding man, with a meditative, spiritual nature. He has given the world most of its domestic animals and staple food plants. He has given the world all of its great religions. The occidental is a thinking, active, belligerent, materialistic man..

These are strong arguments but I think that there is another fundamental difference, the change from mythology to philosophy beginning with Thales of Miletus, born about 624 BC in Miletus, Asia Minor (now Turkey), Socrates, born ca. 470 BC – May 7, 399 BC, Plato (427-347 BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC), who was the teacher of Alexander the Great ...


Blogger Moody Lawless said...

Yes - the basic distinction that the Orient doesn't like to change, while the Occident is in love with change.

China characterises the first, while the 'Faustian' man of Europe characterises the latter.

But then doesn't the East have a very deep philosophical tradition - in China and in India? - compared to which the philosophy of the West seems shallow.

But Western philosophy leads to science ...

Amongst Western philosophy, the work of a Heraclitus is very 'Occidental', emphasising change.
But isn't Plato somewhat Oriental in his yen for the unchanging?

Aristotle did not care much for Plato's forms, and his pupil,
Alexander, cut the Gordian knot, and so united East and West - but he did it with a sword; has the wound yet healed?

7:13 nachm.  
Blogger castor said...

to ML:
You are right! The wound hasn't yet healed for the mentality is too different ... However ... the European (Occidental) history begins already with rape and fraud, when Zeus raped the Phoenician (Oriental) Princess Europa ;-)

9:16 nachm.  

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