2006-05-25

East-West Philosophical thinking - Where is China?

The "East" versus "West" thinking has been always the same throughout history but in my mind is wrong, and MUST change in today's global society. "East" has always been Asia and "West" has always been Europe/North America.

The term East and West may be used in two different contexts, one the context of direction as in North, South East and West. Two, East and West has the meaning of two different lifestyles or ways of thinking. The first is easy for everyone to understand and is agreed upon by international convention. The second is purely arbitrary.

Let us think of a map, by definition and by international mapping conventions North is always the top of the map and South is the bottom, the left therefore must be West and the right side is East. This is based upon international mapping conventions.

Going back 1000 years, before North and South America was invaded by Europe and Asia; there was really one great huge land mass. That of Eurasia and Africa and people traveled very short distances often on foot or by horse. North and South America did not exist (in the minds of Eurasians). Therefore, people's idea (let's call them "X people") of the outside world was very limited to how far they could walk in a day, say for example 25km. Their home was the center of the world/universe. The edge was water, dangerous and not to be ventured onto, they stayed very close to land if they traveled by boat.

 

Therefore, we can see very clearly that according to these "X people" that Europe is LEFT (West) of Asia and Asia is on the RIGHT (East). A very central way of thinking. Now fast-forward, to the point when long distance boat travel came along, and North/South America was captured by Eurasians. We now have two new continents according to these "X people". Where are they now? Left or Right? At the time of the Roman empire Rome was the center and everything to the Left was West and to the Right was East (Asia). The same was true when France was central (held the power), England, Portugal, etc. etc... For centuries, Europe was center and everything revolved around Europe. Asia was to the Right (East).

 

Now we have the United States as the most powerful country, the majority of them coming from a European decent, Europe which has been a stronghold for power in the world for centuries is still held onto even to this day. BUT LOOK! at the map again, where is North/South America in relation to Europe and Asia? According to North American made maps they are in the middle. Where is Europe? on the Right, the Right was? East. Where is Asia? Left of course! But the East-West philosophy remains engraved in the minds of everyone because Europe had held onto world power for so long and people cannot let go of this thinking.

 

Next point, again look at the geographic location of the United States; where is it? In the CENTER. What does this mean? As I have stated before, these "X people" who have never traveled much more than 25km beyond their own home thought that their home was the CENTER. Therefore, whoever is in power is in the center. This is an imperialist way of thinking. Furthermore, "I am center, therefore I am the best" is a further indication of nationalism.

 

The thinking is everyone likes to suck up to the one in power. Everyone wants to be in power, everyone wants the status or the glory. Japan quickly emerged from its' feudalist period to in a way suck up to the United States because they too wanted at the time to be "more developed" like that of the U.S. and less "backward" as a "Westerner" may say the "East" is.

 

Now we have China emerging as the fastest "developing" country, being the biggest country in Asia (except for Russia) and the one with the largest population. The decline of communism in the 1990s and its' opening up 25 years ago has lead China to its' Socialist Market Economy. In my view, China has abandoned all socialist traits for capitalism, even more so in Taiwan. For example, in the past, education had been free and it has now become the responsibility of the individual further undermining the thinking as a "whole" or "group" as thought of by the Confucionists. China is by far a socialist country, and I compare to countries like Sweden and Cuba whom are socialist countries. Some may say communism must go through all the phases and that capitalism is just one phase in development. How long this takes is unknown but what is known now is that China and even more so Taiwan are by far the most right-wing and even most capitalist. I only hope that one day socialism will soon return to China and perhaps the world. So my question, where is China? East? Or West? Where will China be placed in the future? In whose view is it East? Who will determine its placement? America? Or China? Have a look at maps made in China and have a look for yourselves where China is. Even maps made in Australia have Australia on top.

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