Saturday, May 21, 2016

449. Two Poets' Opinions on East Thoughts and the West

There are two different opinions on the relations between the East thoughts and the West. One was represented by German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832),  According to him, "He who knows himself and other, Will also recognize that East and West cannot be separated."  More than fifty years after Goethe left the world behind, an English poet, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) in his poem expressed, "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and Never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and sky stand presently, at God's great Judgement Seat."

In the eyes of some Westerners, China "has been a source of inspiration, fount of an ancient wisdom, a culturally rich civilization which is fat superior to , and can be used to reflect on the inadequacies of", the West. In the meantime, for some other Westerners, China is an "alien region of looming threat and impenetrable mystery, long locked in its stagnant past until rudely awakened by the modernising impact of the West." For Voltaire, the East is the civilization "to which the West owes everything. According to J. J. Clarke, C. S. Peirre spoke contemptuously of the monstrous mysticism of the East.
Below I want to show you an lecture given by Dr. Dave Wang, when he taught graduate course at St. Johns University.  In his lecture, Dr. Dave Wang examined Confucian influence on the United States.

(J.J. Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought, Routledge, London, 1997)

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