East Versus West

Western philosophy is based on thought which is considered rational and on logic, cause and effect. On the other hand, Eastern philosophy deals with religious teachings of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. There are major differences between the philosophies of East and West. Western philosophy is rooted in Athens and Rome while Eastern thought derives from Mahayana Buddhism and Confucianism. The essence of Eastern philosophy is the concept of unity leading to awareness of everything around us. All in all, Western philosophy has its roots in Christian religion while Eastern belief sends us to Confucianism and Buddhism.

Major Differences between East and West

The main difference between Eastern and Western philosophical traditions lead us to western individualism versus eastern collectivism. The Latin tradition promotes the image of Prometheus struggling for individual freedom. Prometheus gave the fire to humans, being punished for his deed. He was chained and an eagle tore his liver. Thus, Prometheus became the hero who brought light to the human darkness. The Christian tradition brought back the concept of individual rights. According to the Bible, man was created by God in conformity with his own image. On the other hand, Eastern religion forms a world of obligations. For instance, Confucianism promotes conservatism.

Rational Thought versus Unity

Furthermore, the western rational thought makes us think of Descartes’ famous statement “I think, therefore, I exist”. There are two entities in a human being, the mind on the one hand and the body on the other, and this division leads to a mechanistic conception of the world. The essential of the East comes from the idea of unity and the interweaving of things and events. All things belong to a cosmic whole.

In contrast, Western civilization is the expression of a struggle between Good and Evil or Psyche and Amor. Eastern philosophical thought is based on the concept of Yin and Yang. Yang is the male power standing for the idea of Heaven while yin is the dark female power standing for the maternal element.

West versus East means idealism versus pragmatism. Confucianism is the expression of the pragmatism of the East with emphasis on order and social hierarchy based on rules and conventions. Therefore, the social hierarchy is well established extending from family to society and country. West will always be in opposition to East; however, there remains the belief that human existence is guided by the divine power irrespective of the religious belief.

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