Historical Reprints History India's True Voice : A Critique of Oriental Philosophy

India's True Voice : A Critique of Oriental Philosophy

India's True Voice : A Critique of Oriental Philosophy
Catalog # SKU1245
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.50 lbs
Author Name Alvin Boyd Kuhn


True Voice

A Critique of Oriental Philosophy

Alvin Boyd Kuhn

One of the most widely disseminated systems of Indian thought, Buddhism, grounds its basic view of life on its thesis that the cause of all of man's wretchedness on the earth is his craving for life. Somehow, it is asserted, there was generated in him the desire to experience sensation and the feeling and consciousness of existence, to enjoy the concrete sense of being. And it was this yearning after the awareness of existence that directed him out of a condition of absolute and unconditioned being and precipitated him into the realm of limitation and painfully conditioned experience.


The implication of this postulate is unmistakably apparent: that like Adam and Eve in Paradise he should never have abandoned, by forfeit of its terms of blessedness, the primal Edenic state, but somehow should have repressed the insensate desire for conscious existence, the initial offense against the benison of non-existence.

The world of the middle twentieth century is dangerously divided between the two great sectors of East and West. At the moment of writing the schism is marked by a differentiation in the philosophies of economics, government, politics and other elements in less conspicuous degree. It is a challenging question, however, whether the fundamental cause of cleavage between Orient and Occident is not still and always the difference in the profoundest conceptions entertained in the realm of mental and spiritual philosophy. Always in human history it has been the case that surface conditions, physical, economic, material, stand conspicuously forward in the public eye and appear to be the big issues pressing for solution. So they come to be regarded as the prime factors of causation.

Generally, however, their ostensible importance reflects a superficial and shallow envisagement of the actualities. For, on deeper scrutiny, they will mostly be seen to be themselves only the manifestations, the outcropping symptoms of more deeply underrunning strata of ideological conceptions. Out of the heart--and it should be added--out of the mind, are the issues of life. Thought is now recognized to be the primal creative energy in the cosmos. Thought, mind, gives the initial propulsion, and also sets the mold, as Plato so sagaciously set forth in his scheme of the archetypal ideaforms, for the shape of things to come in the creation. Therefore, it is in all likelihood true that the great wall of division between East and West is still constructed of the great stones of philosophical ideality, with their psychological coefficients.

It seems hardly beyond dispute that the preamble enunciated in the first paragraph of this Prologue, stating the primary postulate of the Hindu philosophy, carves out in the sharpest possible outlines the central, the basic and the critical difference between the thought structure of Orient and Occident. And looking at that keystone proposition in the philosophical edifice of Eastern reflection, it is a grave question whether the West is not warranted in regarding it, from the standpoint of its own generally affirmative evaluation of life, as a baleful menace and outright peril to its future security and welfare.

The West postulates the supreme value of the life lived here by units of conscious being in physical bodies: the East denies it. It needs no particular depth or perspicacity of mind to perceive in this situation the essential irreconcilability of the two views, or modes of thought, and likewise to discern the precariousness in the impact of the two ideologies, the sensitive rawness in the enterprise of furthering coexistence or the interblending of the two. When two hemispheres of the world, hitherto in long isolation from each other, are now suddenly thrown into close association, the possibility of their harmonious reciprocation of differing modes and codes of motivation for life conduct will inevitably be difficult in proportion to the depth of the abyss between the contrary views.

The meeting of the East and West is one of the gigantic world phenomena of the present epoch in human history, and it promises to become not only a most engaging problem confronting the philosophic mind, but as well the most grimly challenging and practically critical task for the world's statesmanship. It is indeed fraught with the ominously intense and vital issues of historical destiny for the entire world. It sharply, then, behooves the philosophical acumen of the West, in particular, to examine the principles, in Greek terms, the fundamental archai, of the Eastern ideology, with a view to evaluating it as sound and salutary in its impact on the West's own affirmative emphasis on life's value, or as perilous to its way of thought and life. The ideologies of the two hemispheres of the world are now and will be increasingly in clash. Whether the conflict is to be controlled and directed with wisdom adequate to softening the impact and effecting an eventual rapprochement toward harminization and synthesis, is a question and a problem pregnant with the portent of destiny.

The Orient, India in particular, has contrived to spread abroad the legend of the East's consummate achievements of the highest and purest spiritual systems in the world. Yet when the West looks at these systems and finds them so negative to its own estimate of positive value, so lagging in the drive for aggressive activity, it is taken aback and made hesitant to counterbalance the inflow of Indian philosophy in its counsels and its motivations. It sees that the difference in ideological modes complicates every effort on its part to work together with the East toward desirable ends by hitching it in a team with a horse that will not pull when it pulls.

The East--as witness India's invariable posture of neutrality on practically every matter calling for vigorous and often necessarily risky action--clamps a brake on aggessive policy. There must be times and situations in which only swift positive action can stave off disaster and save the day. The East's inherent committal to indecision and passivism thus becomes, from the West's point of view, a constant and dangerous liability.

420+pages - 8 x 5 inches SoftCover


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