Non-Western Worldview

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RajeshA
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby RajeshA » 04 Mar 2013 21:32

Surasena ji,

when I saw that scene, I too thought the same thing. "Game of Thrones" is the only series I watch right now. What I also found interesting was that the European-looking are often shown as corrupt while the Dothraki, with Khal Drogo, are shown as Barbarians but with courage and some uncorruptibility about them. So it is self-critical about European society basically being "civilized" but in decay and without morals, while the "Arabs" (Dothraki) still have purity of faith, but no culture.

There is not a perversity that they are holding back!

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Atri » 04 Mar 2013 21:45

You should read books. Series cuts through lot many details.

There was ancient religion (the old gods) where people used to connect to and worship the universal soul of the old gods through network of weirwood trees (the red leaved trees with faces carved on them). This was the religion of original inhabitants of westeros (called children of light) and the first men (who's descendants are the Stark family of winterfell who still worship the old gods in old ways).

New tribes of men start hitting the shores of westeros (the religion of seven gods) which cut down all the wierwood trees and killed or converted all those people (except those dwelling in north - the winterfell) to religion of new gods. If you search of this "religion of seven" it is very similar to Christianity.

The red priestess in the scene above, brings a third religion of one true god (lord of light) and does the same thing to followers of "religion of seven gods" what the "religion of seven" people did to older nature worshiping "first men". In fact, this burning of statues (in scene above) is simply the karma-phala of burning of older nature-worshiping people and their magic trees.

<> SPOILER ALERT BEGINS<>

The white-walkers and the shiny "others" beyond the wall are hypothesized to be followers of "Lord of dark" who is twin brother of this "lord of light" of red priestess. And last of the followers of old gods and nature-worshiping folk are planning to defeat these "others" and "white-walkers". And So is the "Lord of light" (Stanniss Baratheon) who is trying to defeat his brother. What remains to be seen in next books is, whether Old gods and their followers ally with this new "lord of light" to defeat "others" OR does lord of light allies with "others" to defeat everyone else.

<> SPOILER ALERT ENDS<>


:) Now go figure..
Last edited by Atri on 04 Mar 2013 22:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby RajeshA » 04 Mar 2013 22:04

Seven Gods! Hmmmh! Saptarishi?! :)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 04 Mar 2013 22:48

Atriji thanks for the info.

I haven't read the books yet but I had wondered about how "the religion of the seven gods" had gained primacy over "the old gods" which are mentioned in the series but the series has so far skipped over how this transition occurred.

I will check out the books as you suggested.

Rajeshji, yes the Dothraki are interesting and seem to be based more so on the Altaic people's such as the Turko-Mongols than the Arabs.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Atri » 05 Mar 2013 02:12

Surasena ji,

The Urheimat OR Punyabhumi of anglosaxons is hybrid of Scotland and Scandinavia. For Tolkien, Shire was akin to this hybrid of Scotland Scandinavia. Similar is the Aslan's country in Lewis's Narnia series. In game of thrones series, GRR martin has similar idealization of "North". All of them draw heavily from Nordic mythology and folktales. And recurring theme is atlantis. heck, even Hogwarts in harry potter series is located in purer north.

In tolkein's universe, North is always something greener, purer which people of "west" fight to protect usually against east. The elite of "men of west" are originally from this legendary island of Numenor (atlantis). Tolkien's universe is based on WW1 scenario (Mordor and easterlings representing Turkey). It also had some hints of Nazi Germany (rise of isengard). The elephant riding evil "easterlings" form major chunk of Sauron's army. Battle of Minastirith is based on siege of Vienna where the "west" put forth the last stand and was surprisingly victorious by valor of horse-riding Polish Hussars (Here it is horseriders of Rohan).

Similarly in this Game of thrones series, the continent of Essos (asia) is where religion of 7 comes from which destroys the native religion (Christianization of Scandinavia and Scotland - A bloody tale) by fire. The elite rulers of continent "Westeros" (Europe OR "the west" as a whole) come from a legendary city of Valeria (or something) which is destroyed by fire and dragons and inbreeding.

The newest religion of one true "lord of lights" has names similar to ancient Zoroastrian religion (along with recurring motif of fire-worship) Azor ahai or something. It is complex borrowing from ongoing demographic invasion of Islam and Persian invasion on greece. As story progresses, one subplot is all about rediscovery of the religion of old gods which has gone in hiding in far north and its rejuvenation along with all the lores associated with it. The emotional attachment to prechristian ideals is strongest in Scandinavia.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Agnimitra » 05 Mar 2013 03:41

Atri ji, this reminds me of something you said recently - that 2000 yrs ago in India there was a massive shift from Vedic to Puranic gods, and that in the near future we may need another similar shift.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby RamaY » 05 Mar 2013 03:45

^
Bharatiya civilization is more of a circular evolution. When Vyasa wrote Puranas at the end of Dwaparayuga, he did so in an attempt to simplify the Vedic thought process into a more ritualistic Puranic lore to suite the Tamasic Kaliyuga.

Irrespective of the approach (Satya>Treta>Dwapara>Kali>>Satya>... OR Satya>Treta>Dwapara>Kali>Dwapara>Treta>Satya>Treta>...) the next Yuga is an evolutionary yuga.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 05 Mar 2013 03:46

DECREE

1. Japan is the Land of the Gods. That a pernicious doctrine should be diffused here from the Kirishitan Country is most undesirable.

2. To approach the people of our provinces and districts, turn them into [Kirishitan] sectarians, and destroy the shrines of the gods and the temples of the Buddhas is something unheard of in previous generations. Whereas provinces, districts, localities, and fiefs are granted to their recipients temporarily, contingent on the incumbent's observance of the laws of the realm and attention to their intent in all matters, to embroil the common people is miscreant.

3. In the judgement of His Highness, it is because the Bateren amass parishioners as they please by means of their clever doctrine that the Law of the Buddhas is being destroyed like this in the Precincts of the Sun. That being miscreant, the Bateren can scarcely be permitted to remain on Japanese soil. Within twenty days from today they shall make their preparations and go back to their country.
During this time, should anyone among the common people make unwarranted accusations against the Bateren, it shall be considered miscreant.

4. The purpose of the Black Ships is trade, and that is a different matter. As years and months pass, trade may be carried on in all sorts of articles.

5. From now on hereafter, all those who do not disturb the Law of the Buddhas (merchants, needless to say, and whoever) are free to come here from the Kirishitan Country and return. Be heedful of this.

That is all.
Tensho 15.VI.19

[Kuwata, Toyotomi Hideyoshi kenkyu, pp.347-49; JSAE]

LETTER TO THE VICEROY OF INDIA

You have sent me a letter from afar. Opening it and reading it, I feel as though a vista of myriad miles of seas and mountains had opened before my eyes.

As your letter intimates, this empire, which comprises more than sixty regions, for many years knew more days of disorder than of peace. Hence evildoers fomented foul plots, provincial warriors banded together, and the imperial court's orders could not be enforced. In the prime of my life, I spent all my days and nights deploring and lamenting this state of affairs. I studied the art of self-cultivation and the essentials of governing the country, formulated deep designs, and made plans for the future. Founding myself in the three virtues of humanity, perspicacity, and martial valor, I nourished the warriors with affection and treated the farmers with compassion. I rectified rewards and punishments and set the state on a safe course free of perils. I rectified rewards and punishments and set the state on a safe course free of perils. Consequently, before many years had passed, the realm was unified and now rests solid as a rock. There is no foreign land or territory however distant that fails to offer tribute. East and West, North and South: I order and they obey.

And now, disseminating His Sacred Majesty's decrees throughout his dominions and brandishing the authority proper to his worthy captain as far as the borderlands, I opened all the barriers and bridges within the Four Seas, permitting free passage. I have struck down the bandits on land and the pirates on the sea, bringing peace to the state and the people. Our country is now secure. For all that, I have formed the ambition to ruler over the country of Great Ming. Any time now, I will set sail for China aboard my palace-ship, and it will be as easy as pointing to the palm of my hand. Then will have a convenient route for proceeding to your part of the world. Why should we let distances or differences come between us? . . .

As long as humans are active in society, humanity will be their basic principle. Were it not for humanity and rightness, a lord would not act as a lord or a subject as a subject.1 It is by applying humanity and rightness that the essential ties between lord and subject, father and son, and husband and wife are perfected, that the Way of these relationships is established. Should you want to learn about the gods and the Buddhas in depth, kindly ask, and I will explain.

In lands like yours, one doctrine is taught to the exclusion of others, and you are unaware of the Way of humanity and rightness. You therefore fail to revere the gods and the Buddhas or to distinguish between the lord and the subject. Instead, you seek to destroy the True Law by means of a pernicious doctrine. Hereafter, stop fabricating wild, barbarous nonsense in ignorance of right and wrong!

Some years ago that notorious group, the Bateren, came to this country, seeking to bedevil and cast a spell on religious and lay folk, men and women alike. At that time I subjected them to only some slight punishment. Were they to return to these parts with the intention of proselytizing, however, I shall extirpate them without sparing any of their ilk, and it will then be too late for the gnashing of teeth.
Should you have the desire of maintaining friendship with this land, however, the seas have been rid of the pirate menace, and merchants are free to come and go anywhere within these borders. Think it over.

Tensho 19. VII.25 [September 12, 1591] The Imperial Regent

[Kuwata, Toyotomi Hideyoshi kenkyu, pp. 253-55; JSAE]

1. Allusion to Analects 12:11

- Source: Sources of East Asian Tradition: Vol. 2 the Modern Period edited by William Theodore De Bary

First is Hideyoshi's proclamation banning missionary activity.

Second is his letter, presumably to the Portuguese Viceroy of Goa.

Bateren refers to the Christian padres.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyotomi_Hideyoshi

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 05 Mar 2013 04:43

STATEMENT ON THE EXPULSION OF THE BATEREN

The following is the fundamental anti-Christian statement of the Tokugawa shogunate. It was prepared at the behest of the retired shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (r. 1603-1605) by the Zen monk Ishin Suden (1569-1633), who was the abbot of Nanzenji, one of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto, when he was called to Ieyasu's residence in Sunpu in 1608.

Suden's basic argument exalts Japan as the "Land of the Gods," a realm triply blessed because the sublime traditions of all the Three Countries were amalgamated to form its unique national polity. Shinto, however, retains primacy in that fusion: it is through the assistance of the Shinto gods, Suden asserts, that Buddhism and Confucianism were brought to Japan.

Heaven as father, Earth as mother, and Man born between them: here the Three Powers are determined.

Japan is by origin the Land of the Gods. The unfathomable functioning of yin and yang, given a name, is called god. Who would fail to hallow and revere the sacredness of the sacred, the spirituality of the spirit? . . . What human beings are all endowed with, what each and every individual is invested with-that is the substance of god.

Japan is also called the Land of the Buddhas, and not without reason. It is written: "This is the land where the Buddhas manifest themselves as gods, the homeland of Dainichi."2 And the Lotus says: "As saviors of the world, the Buddhas abide by their great godlike faculties; for the sake of bringing joy to sentient beings, they display boundless divine powers."3

Japan is the Land of the Gods and the Land of the Buddhas. The gods are hallowed here and the Buddhas revered; the Way of humanity and rightness is followed assidiously, and laws regarding good and evil are perfected. . . .

All of that notorious band, the Bateren, contravene the aforesaid governmental regimen, traduce the Way of the Gods, calumniate the True Law, derange righteousness, and debase goodness. When they see that there are criminals to be executed, then they rejoice, then they ruh tso the scene, then they do reverence and pay obeisance in person. This [sort of death] they make out to be a consummation to be devoutly wished in their religion. If this is not a pernicious doctrine, then what is it? . . . So purge Japan of them! Expel them quickly without giving them an inch of land to grasp, a foot of ground to stand on! And if any dare resist these orders, they shall be executed.

Happily, these Precincts of the Sun have for some years now been ruled by a recipient of the Mandate of Heave to hold sway over the state. Outwardly, he manifests our cardinal virtues, the Five Constants; inwardly, he turns to the great teachings of the Tripitaka. Therefore the country prospers and the people are at peace. The sutra says: "Peace and tranquillity in the present world, a good repose in the life to come."4 And Confucius says: "Our bodies, down to the hair and the skin, are received by us from our fathers and mothers. Not to let them be injured or disfigured presumptuously: this is the beginning of filial piety."5 To keep that body whole: this means to revere the gods. To repulse the pernicious doctrine of the foreigners without delay is to prosper our True Law all the more. Although the world may already have entered an age of decline, our government pursues an excellent course: It steadily increases the traditional patronage of the Way of the Gods and the law of the Buddhas. Let all under Heaven and within the Four Seas take note! Let no one dare to err!

Keicho 18, the year of water junior and the ox, XII. VERMILION SEAL [Hidetada]

[Suden, "Bateren tsuiho no fumi," pp. 33-34; JSAE]

2. Dainichi (Great Sun) is the Japanese name of Mahavairocana (Cosmic Buddha). Opportunely, if the character for "the homeland of Dainichi" (Dainichi no honkoku) are written without being interrupted by a possessive case marker, the resulting compound may be read Dainihonkoku (Great Japan).

3. Lotus Sutra 21, probably cited from the Kyoto Gosan monk Zuikei Shuho's preface to the compendium of diplomatic correspondence, Zenrin kokuho ki (1470), which also contains a statement similar to the previous quotation.

4. Lotus Sutra 5.

5. Xiaojing (Classic of Filiality) 1.

- Source: Sources of East Asian Tradition: Vol. 2 the Modern Period edited by William Theodore De Bary

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Atri » 05 Mar 2013 21:39

Carl wrote:Atri ji, this reminds me of something you said recently - that 2000 yrs ago in India there was a massive shift from Vedic to Puranic gods, and that in the near future we may need another similar shift.


Yes.. the trimurti system is slowly outliving its utility (again from dharmarthik perspective).
Last edited by Atri on 06 Mar 2013 14:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 06 Mar 2013 01:19

"What we reject," he wrote of capitalism, "is not the form but the spirit. What we reject is not the private ownership of industry, but the theory of private ownership, based as it is on individualism."4 The ideas of rights and self-government, he explained, were products of that individualism; in Japan, where the concept of duty, rather than rights, prevailed, "we can only have bureaucratic government under nationalism." Nationalism, bureaucratic (as opposed to popular) government, and the sense of duty: these three aspects of national life distinguished Japan from the Western world. "Those persons who are respected in Japan are all dedicated to the nation. Herein lies the saying, 'We should revere the bureaucrat and despise the citizen.' "5

The heart of Japanese civilization, Kawakami further explained, lay in its special nationalism. In Japan the nation was an end and the individual the means, whereas in the West the individual was the end, and the nation the means. If the greatest morality for the Japanese was patriotism, for the Westerner, it was the development of the individual's personality.6 Nationalism was not only the highest expression of morality in Japan; it was the religion of the Japanese.

The god of Japan is the nation. Thus the emperor is the one who represents this sacred national polity [kokutai]. In other words, he concretely embodies the abstract national divinity. According to Japanese beliefs, therefore, the emperor is divine. That is, the emperor is a god [kami]. In the imperial constitution it is clearly explained that the emperor is sacred and inviolable . . . Thus, patriotism is the highest virtue in our country and, at the same time, patriotism is synonymous with loyalty to the emperor.7

This fundamental belief in the sacredness of the nation and of the emperor explained why Japanese and Western political theories concerning the nature of the ruler were diametrically opposed. In Japan, monarch and state were considered one and the same thing; the emperor was the divine representative of the state. In the West, on the other hand, the ruler was viewed as an organ of the state; he preserved his identity apart from the state. In a certain sense, everyone from commoner to king stood on an equal footing in Western society, because everyone had his own individuality, his own private life separate from his public duties. In government as well as in economics, dissimilarities between Japan and the West were rooted in opposing attitudes toward the individual.8

Kawakami's antipathy to the spirit of capitalism was thus followed by a general rejection of liberalism, based as it was on the affirmation of the rights and interests of individuals. Certain cultural differences, he seemed to be saying, could not be safely dissolved by the agent of modernization, because precisely these "special Japanese characteristics," when integrated into nationalist ideology, accounted for Japan's strength.

Nationalism is the essence of our country. It is this nationalism that makes our poor, small country a capable, strong country. Look at ant society. With the exception of human beings, no other society has realized such a high degree of civilization as the ants. However, this is due to their society's nationalism. When we compare individuals [in the West and Japan], we Japanese are no match for the Westerners, either in wealth, power, knowledge, or physical prowess, but having once decided to cooperate and form the Japanese nation, we produced an able, great, and strong country because of this nationalist spirit.

Therefore, I passionately desire the healthy development of this nationalism and I oppose all theories, movements, policies, and systems which are not useful or are even harmful to it, because it is the characteristic of the Japanese nation.9...

Hearing the soft-spoken Ishihara's critical evaluation of his countrymen as merely borrower's, Kawakami felt obliged to rise to Japan's defense. Agitated, he countered,

No matter what country, all civilizations have begun by imitating others. The fact that Western civilization is based on Graeco-Roman culture is no different from our ancestors receiving their heritage from China. Not only that, but we Japanese are not necessarily imitators. Look at how many sacrifices our ancestors made when they were importing Chinese culture. Before you know it, we make foreign culture our own. And we improve upon it. The development of Buddhism in our country is one example. Buddhism in India and China is dead, but in our country it's still vital. It's still a short while since we've imported Western culture. Wait for forty or fifty years...

The systematic nature of academic Marxism was demanding for other reasons as well. Kawakami was accustomed to solving intellectual clashes by a pick-and-choose method and working for reconciliations and judicious blends of the values of competing philosophies. He was not unique in this regard. The Japanese eclectic approach to foreign culture, its tolerance for seemingly opposing religious systems, is a distinctive feature of Japanese society.12

Logical consistency was not important; preservation of the unique essence of Japan was however of paramount importance. Kawakami's pragmatic approach to Marxism identified him as heir to a long history of Japanese cultural borrowing. He saw in Marxism a superior method of reform; he believed it was his privilege to select only that aspect of Marxism which Japan could fruitfully employ to reestablish the harmony and well-being of the social order. Fifteen hundred years earlier, the elite advisers of the emperor of Japan had in a similar fashion recommended importing Buddhism into Japan for its alleged magical properties. In both cases, the total thought system was eschewed in favor of certain selective elements deemed valuable to Japanese society. Kawakami's concrete, pragmatic and eclectic application of Marxism to modern Japan placed him squarely in the tradition of cultural assimilation that characterized his nation's history.

- Japanese Marxist: Portrait of Kawakami Hajime, 1879-1946 By Gail Lee Bernstein

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Agnimitra » 06 Mar 2013 03:07

A bin Qasim of American Islam?
From "Lost Islamic History":
Columbus Was (Not) The First To Cross The Atlantic - Moslems were
The great Muslim historian and geographer, Abu al-Hasan al-Masudi wrote in 956 of a voyage in 889 from al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). The voyage left from the port of Delba (the same place Columbus’ voyage would begin) and sailed for months westward. They eventually found a large landmass across the ocean where they traded with the natives, and then returned to Europe. Al-Masudi records this land across the ocean in his famous map and refers to it as “the unknown land”.

Two more voyages from Muslim Spain to the Americas are recorded in history. One was in 999 and was led by Ibn Farrukh, from Granada. The other is recorded by the genius mind of the geographer al-Idrisi, who worked in the multi-cultural and religiously tolerant Sicily of King Roger II in the 1100s. He wrote of a group of Muslims who sailed west from Lisbon for 31 days and landed on an island in the Caribbean. They were taken prisoner by the Native Americans on that island for a few days. Eventually, they were freed when a translator who lived among the natives that spoke Arabic arranged for their release. They eventually sailed back to al-Andalus and told their tale. The important part of this account is the existence of an Arabic speaker among the natives, indicating that there must have been more unrecorded contact between the Arab world and the Americas.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby brihaspati » 06 Mar 2013 03:52

^^^What if they were onlee boasting? Or we have to think that they boasted only when they wrote of jihadi violence on non-Muslim? :P

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby devesh » 06 Mar 2013 11:57

Atri wrote:
Carl wrote:Atri ji, this reminds me of something you said recently - that 2000 yrs ago in India there was a massive shift from Vedic to Puranic gods, and that in the near future we may need another similar shift.


Yes.. the trimurti system is slowly outliving its utility (again from dharmarthik perspective). I wish path of surya is revived..



Atri ji,

Path of Surya!! is it possible that we are communicating telepathically? :D

would be interested to know more about what you mean. please do elaborate. eager to learn why you think there is need to put greater focus and/or revive it?!

edited, as per suggestion of Klaus ji...
Last edited by devesh on 07 Mar 2013 06:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby devesh » 06 Mar 2013 13:00

sorry for the OT above. Atri ji, if you are interested, we carry on in GDF. the "Epics" thread or OT thread.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Klaus » 06 Mar 2013 14:20

^^^ Devesh ji, gently suggest you delete above posts. Discussion can be had elsewhere- not reached the stage where identities can be freely discussed, as some others who would like to think otherwise may attest. Crypticism has its own eloquence, just like silence and economy of speech do.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 07 Mar 2013 20:12

The Danger from the West

The following excerpt from the "New Theses" is preceded by a discussion of the principle known as "retracting the descent and repaying the original debt" (hanshi hohon), which affirms the divine descent of the imperial house and the gratitutde of the Japanese people for the blessings of the gods. According to Aizawa, this principle was inculcated by the original Shinto teaching and reinforced by Confucianism from China. Later, however, it declined owing to the spread of superstitious beliefs identified with Shamanism, Buddhism, unorthodox Confucian teachings, and Christianity.

Thus, our ancestral teaching has been muddled by the shamans, altered by the Buddhists, and obscured by pseudo-Confucians and second-rate scholars who have, through their sophistries, confused the minds of men. Moreover, the duties of sovereign and minister and of parent and child have been neglected and left undefined in their teachings. The great Way of Heaven and man are nowhere to be found in them.

In the past, those who have attracted popular attention and confused the thinking of the populace with their improper teaching have been people only of our own realm. But now we must cope with the foreigners of the West, where every country upholds the law of Jesus and attempts therewith to subdue other countries. Everywhere they go, they set fire to shrines and temples, deceive and delude the people, and then invade and seize the country. Their purpose is not realized until the ruler of the land is made a subject and the people of the land [are] subservient. As they have gained momentum, they have attempted to foist themselves on our divine land, as they have already done in Luzon and Java. The damaging effects of their heresies go far beyond anything done by those who attack from within our own land. Fortunately, our rulers were wise and our ministers alert and thus were able to perceive their evil designs. The barbarians were killed and exterminated, and there has been no recurrence of this threat. Thus, for two hundred years, the designing and obstinate fellows have been prevented from sowing their seeds in our soil. That the people have been free from the inflammatory teaching of the barbarians has been due to the great virtue of our government. . . .

Recently, there has appeared what is known as Dutch studies, which had its inception among our official interpreters [at Nagasaki]. It has been concerned primarily with reading and writing Dutch, and there is nothing harmful about it. However, these students, who make a living by passing on whatever they hear, have been taken in by the vaunted theories of the Western foreigners. They enthusiastically extol these theories, some going so far as to publish books about them in the hope of transforming our civilized way of life into that of the barbarians. And the weakness of some for novel gadgets and rare medicines, which delight the eye and enthrall the heart, have led many to admire foreign ways. If someday the treacherous foreigner should take advantage of this situation and lure ignorant people to his ways, our people will adopt such practices as eating dogs and sheep and wearing woolen clothing. And no one will be able to stop it. We must not permit the frost to turn to hard ice. We must become fully aware of its harmful and weakening effects and make an effort to block it. Now the Western foreigners, spurred by the desire to wreak havoc on us, are daily prying into our territorial waters. And within our own domain, evil teachings flourish in a hundred subtle ways. it is like nurturing barbarians within our own country.10 If confusion reigns in the country, and depravity and obsequiousness among the people, could this land of ours still be called the Central Kingdom? Would it not be more like China, India, or the Occident? After all, what is the "basis" of our nation?11

[Takasu, Shinron kowa, pp. 90-95; RT, WTdB]

10. Literally, the "Central Kingdom," the usual Chinese name for China. For its application to Japan, see chaps. 22 and 24.

11. Reference to the "national polity" (kokutai), especially as found in the divine origins of the country and the dynasty as embodied in those moral values and virtues considered indispensable to social unity and order.

The Source of Western Unity and Strength

As a Confucian, Aizawa believed that the moral unity of the people in support of the ruler, not coercive means, was the basis of true governance, and he saw the strength of the West as deriving more from its underlying Christian values than from its more apparent military might. Christianity, then, was, the real threat from the West, and to counter it, Aizawa tried to rally Japan's religious and moral unity, advancing what became a new, synthetic national ideology, corresponding in many ways to the new nationalisms of Europe and America.

The Western barbarians have independent and mutually contending states, but they all follow the same God. When there is something to be gained by it, they get together in order to achieve their aims and share the benefits. But when trouble is brewing, each stays within his own boundaries for self-protection. So when there is trouble in the West, the East generally enjoys peace. But when the trouble has quieted down, they go out to ravage other lands in all directions, and then the East suffers. Russia, for instance, having subjugated the Western plains, turned eastward to take over Siberia and penetrate the Amur River region. But because the Manchus were still strong in China, the Russians could not attain their objectives and had to turn their aggressive designs toward the land of the Ainu. [p. 215]

As for the Western barbarians who have dominated the seas for nearly three centuries: Do they surpass others in intelligence and bravery? Does their benevolence and mercy overflow their own borders? Are their social institutions and administration of justice perfect in every detail? Or do they have supernatural powers enabling them to accomplish what other men cannot? Not so at all. All they have is Christianity to fall back on in the prosecution of their schemes. . . . When these barbarians plan to subdue a country not their own, they start by opening commerce and watch for a sign of weakness. If an opportunity is presented, they will preach their alien religion to captivate the people's hearts. Once the people's allegiance has been shifted, they can be manipulated, and nothing can be done to stop it. The people will be only too glad to die for the sake of the alien God. They have the courage to give battle, they offer all they own in adoration of the God and devote their resources to the cause of insurrection.12 The subversion of the people and overthrow of the state are taught as being in accord with the God's will. So in the name of all-embracing love, the land is subjugated. Even though greed is the real motive, it masquerades as a righteous uprising. The absorption of the country and the conquest of its territories all are carried out in this fashion.13 [p. 198]

[Takasu, Shinron kowa, pp. 198, 215; RT, WTdB]

12. Reference to the uprising of Christians at Shimabara, near Nagasaki, in 1637/1638.

13. In a later work, dated 1862, according to a recent finding by Donald Keene, Aizawa relented from his virulent espousal of "repelling the barbarians" to support the "opening of the country."

- 1600 to 1868, Volume 2 By William Theodore De Bary, Arthur E. Tidemann


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aizawa_Seishisai

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimabara_Rebellion

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Yogi_G » 07 Mar 2013 22:09

Carl wrote:A bin Qasim of American Islam?
From "Lost Islamic History":
Columbus Was (Not) The First To Cross The Atlantic - Moslems were
The great Muslim historian and geographer, Abu al-Hasan al-Masudi wrote in 956 of a voyage in 889 from al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). The voyage left from the port of Delba (the same place Columbus’ voyage would begin) and sailed for months westward. They eventually found a large landmass across the ocean where they traded with the natives, and then returned to Europe. Al-Masudi records this land across the ocean in his famous map and refers to it as “the unknown land”.

Two more voyages from Muslim Spain to the Americas are recorded in history. One was in 999 and was led by Ibn Farrukh, from Granada. The other is recorded by the genius mind of the geographer al-Idrisi, who worked in the multi-cultural and religiously tolerant Sicily of King Roger II in the 1100s. He wrote of a group of Muslims who sailed west from Lisbon for 31 days and landed on an island in the Caribbean. They were taken prisoner by the Native Americans on that island for a few days. Eventually, they were freed when a translator who lived among the natives that spoke Arabic arranged for their release. They eventually sailed back to al-Andalus and told their tale. The important part of this account is the existence of an Arabic speaker among the natives, indicating that there must have been more unrecorded contact between the Arab world and the Americas.



Sorry, OT, but best way to kill this theory would be to declare that the Arab speaking native was an Ahmediya or a Shia.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Philip » 08 Mar 2013 13:16

As they say,"truth is stranger than fiction ",especially when it is espionage.The curious case of a dead Russian whistleblower who is now being accused of being an MI 6 spy.

Trial by Russian television convicts whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky as MI6 agent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 25318.html


There is also the curious case of former KGB defector to the UK, Litvinenko,who died of polonium poisoning.The Brits accused the Russians,but the agent had close ties with Brit. intel too.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -wife.html
Triple agent! Poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was working for British AND Spanish intelligence, says wife

Former KGB agent introduced to Spanish intelligence services by MI6
Alexander Litvinenko advised on link between Russian Mafia and government
Spy was poisoned after allegedly having tea with former KGB colleagues
Family claim he may have been poisoned in bid to silence him or as warning

Xcpts:
By Ryan Kisiel and Sam Greenhill
14 December 2012

Poisoned former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko was effectively a triple agent working for MI6 and the Spanish secret service, it was claimed yesterday.

He was on the payroll of MI6 and had a handler called ‘Martin’, a barrister for his widow Marina said.

The Spanish secret service was also bankrolling his espionage activities and both stipends were paid into a joint bank account he held with his wife, it was said.

A pre-inquest hearing yesterday was told that the Government has ‘established’ Moscow has a case to answer that Mr Litvinenko was assassinated in London.

Mr Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 while drinking tea at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair.

Russian 'supergrass' who died in mysterious circumstances in Surrey was 'linked to Litvinenko murder suspect'
Model wife of billionaire newspaper baron Alexander Lebedev fights to save her husband from Russian jail

As he lay dying in hospital, ‘reluctant to tell police that he was an MI6 agent’, he handed detectives the mobile phone number of his MI6 handler ‘Martin’, the hearing conducted by High Court judge Sir Robert Owen was told.

The death of 43-year-old Mr Litvinenko, a fugitive from the Putin regime, in November 2006 plunged Anglo-Russian diplomatic relations into deep freeze.
Determined: Marina Litvinenko, the widow of former spy Alexander, arrives at Camden Town Hall in London today

Determined: Marina Litvinenko, the widow of former spy Alexander, arrives at Camden Town Hall in London today

Former KGB agents Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, who met him at the Millennium Hotel, are prime suspects in the murder. Both deny involvement.

The Crown Prosecution Service wants to charge Lugovoy, but Russia refuses to extradite him.

Mr Litvinenko’s widow believes MI6 failed to protect her husband. Her QC, Ben Emmerson, told the hearing at Camden Town Hall in North London: ‘Mr Litvinenko had been for a number of years a regular and paid agent and employee of MI6 with a dedicated handler whose pseudonym was Martin.’

He said that, at the behest of MI6, Mr Litvinenko was also working for the Spanish security services, where his handler was called ‘Uri’.

Mr Emmerson said the inquest should consider whether MI6 failed in its duty to protect Mr Litvinenko against a ‘real and immediate risk to life’.

He suggested there was ‘an enhanced duty resting on the British Government to ensure his safety when tasking him with dangerous operations involving engagement with foreign agents’.

He said Mr Litvinenko was supplying the Spanish with information on organised crime and Russian mafia activity in Spain.

When Mr Litvinenko fell ill – but before he realised he was slowly dying from polonium – he phoned Lugovoy from his bed in University College Hospital to say that he could not make the trip.

In a further twist, it was claimed by a lawyer acting for Russian dissident billionaire Boris Berezovsky that Lugovoy was actually double-crossing his spymasters at the Kremlin. Mr Litvinenko died three weeks after being poisoned by the radioactive isotope.

Neil Garnham QC, representing the Home Office, told the hearing he could ‘neither confirm nor deny’ whether Mr Litvinenko was employed by British intelligence services.

After the hearing, Mrs Litvinenko said she was ‘hopeful’ the full inquest would answer her questions, especially about Moscow’s alleged involvement. The full inquest, beginning on May 1, will be held before Sir Robert Owen who has been appointed assistant deputy coroner.

The former KGB officer was granted asylum with his wife and son in 2000 and allegedly started working with both MI5 and MI6, revealing secrets on the Putin regime.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, is also believed to have worked with other European intelligence agencies and he wrote a series of books in which he accused the FSB – the successor to the KGB – of carrying out terror attacks and murders to help get Vladimir Putin into power.

Keen for information on the Russian mafia, he met two former FSB men, Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovturn, at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, on November 1, 2006.

Hours later, he collapsed at home and began vomiting. He was admitted to hospital three days later.
Litvinenko, who lost his hair because of the radiation, released a statement blaming ‘barbaric’ Putin for involvement in his poisoning. He died on November 22.

Police went to Moscow to interview Lugovoy and Kovturn, but Russia refused to extradite Lugovoy, triggering a diplomatic row in which both countries expelled diplomats.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 10 Mar 2013 19:17

The Bateren who have come in recent years have had no fear at all of Heaven's Way. They have willfully made up a Creator of Heaven and Earth, and have destroyed shrines of the gods and temples of the Buddhas. They nurture the plot to annex our land to South Barbary (Spain), and so to that end they have deluded the people with all sorts of empty lies. Some thieving bonzes (Buddhist monks) of our own country have thrown their lot in with these foreigners and, taking the name of Bateren (padres) or Iruman (native Japanese lay preachers), have dragged a great many people down into perdition. The Buddhas of our country are not Buddhas, the sun and moon are to be despised, the gods are nonexistent; so they claim. Their offence is grave in the extreme. The punishment of Heaven, the punishment of the Buddhas, the punishment of the gods, the punishment of man - not one of these shall they escape! All, all shall be suspended by the rope and killed! Their followers' hearts also brim with this offence. And accordingly a countless number have perished - how many thousands upon ten thousands! This all is the fruit of devilry; it is not only official determination that has stamped them out. . . . .No matter how often they come here, as long as the Way of Heaven prevails they will all, all come to their own destruction. No doubt of it! Keep this fact in mind, keep it in mind.

- Suzuki Shosan, Ha Kirishitan (Christianity Crushed)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Sh%C5%8Dsan
People of the late Ming, in discussing the demise of their state, list Christianity as one of the causes. So we see that our country's decision to strictly ban this teaching was not an excessive measure.

- Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arai_Hakuseki

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 11 Mar 2013 07:05

Kirishitan Ko by Tadano Makuzu: A Late Tokugawa Woman's Warnings

http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/pdf/361/36100804.pdf

Paper discusses an anti Christian tract of a late Tokugawa female intellectual in Japan and compare's her views with those of her contemporaries and predecessors on the growing Christian imperialism & how Japan was to resist it.

Particularly worrisome was the expansion of the Russian colonization of Siberia, Kamchatka, and conversion of Ainu natives there. This was seen as a precursor to Russian invasion into Hokkaido but as Japan was stronger than some other countries, Christian missionaries would be sent in first to convert the Ainu & the stupid Japanese masses to lay the foundations for the invasion. In countries that were weak the colonialism would be direct through military means.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 12 Mar 2013 08:58

Journey to the West

What is often called the first Japanese embassy to Europe was actually a publicity stunt conceived in 1582 by Alexandro Valignano, the inspector of the Portuguese-sponsored Asian missions of the Society of Jesus. Four teenagers from Kyushu were paraded through Portugal, Spain, and Italy—performers and audience at the same time in a theatrical production designed to display the capabilities of the Japanese before influential circles of Catholic Europe while imbuing the Japanese with the idea of the superiority of European civilization under the aegis of the Catholic Church. After returning to their native country in 1590, all four joined the Jesuit order. Three served the cause of Christianity faithfully. The fourth, Miguel Chijiwa, apostatized and derided all that he had been taught to hold sacred. He is the narrator of the scurrilous piece of anti-Christian fiction Kirishitan kanagaki, a fantasy novel avant-la-lettre that deserves much greater attention than it has received. Its multifaceted deployment of European legendary materials makes it a challenge to students of comparative culture...

http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2917

member_19686
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 12 Mar 2013 08:58

Journey to the West

What is often called the first Japanese embassy to Europe was actually a publicity stunt conceived in 1582 by Alexandro Valignano, the inspector of the Portuguese-sponsored Asian missions of the Society of Jesus. Four teenagers from Kyushu were paraded through Portugal, Spain, and Italy—performers and audience at the same time in a theatrical production designed to display the capabilities of the Japanese before influential circles of Catholic Europe while imbuing the Japanese with the idea of the superiority of European civilization under the aegis of the Catholic Church. After returning to their native country in 1590, all four joined the Jesuit order. Three served the cause of Christianity faithfully. The fourth, Miguel Chijiwa, apostatized and derided all that he had been taught to hold sacred. He is the narrator of the scurrilous piece of anti-Christian fiction Kirishitan kanagaki, a fantasy novel avant-la-lettre that deserves much greater attention than it has received. Its multifaceted deployment of European legendary materials makes it a challenge to students of comparative culture...

http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2917

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 13 Mar 2013 04:27

Sankuji you might be interested in the following book:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=__VSPmK ... wa&f=false

This book has a lot more on Aizawa's perceptions of the strength of the West (including the Muslim world), the weaknesses of Japan, the need for unity between government and religion (state Shinto), the centrality of the Emperor to the nation as a father figure & other reforms to be carried out so that Japan could stand up to the coming storm from the West. Shinron was written in 1825, about 43 years before the Meiji restoration & this book discusses these and other ideas.

To give you a sample of Aizawa's ideas:
The first far-reaching use of kokutai in early modern Japan is to be found in Aizawa Seishisai’s Shinron [New Theses] (1986 [1825]) that, quite ironically, were inspired by Western learning (rangaku) and increasing probes by British and Russian vessels into Japanese waters. During the Tokugawa regime, the rangakusha [Western scholar] was the Japanese histôr of the West. Western sources were comprised within a “kind of Confucian-type immutable scholarly whole, bits and pieces of which [the Western scholars] were fitting together,” instead of placing this knowledge in its own chronology. Therefore the West was relayed through Japanese conceptions of time and change, and Western knowledge was artificially perceived as “material,” departing from the more “spiritual” articulations existing in Confucianism. Western learning was henceforth constrained in a knowledge “made to adhere to the unquestioningly accepted Neo-Confucian theoretical framework of Tokugawa society” (Goodman 1986: 6, 225, 228). Yet, according to Aizawa, if there was one aspect of the West worthy of consideration, it was Christianity: “as civilization steadily progressed, even the barbarians received its blessings; they learned the technique of creating religious injunctions and precepts to guide their people. […] [T]hose hordes [used to lack] integration and permanence. But now Islam and Christianity have provided their leaders with these two elements and more” (Aizawa 1986 [1825]: 194). It was Christianity that gave the West its strength by offering Western leaders a “state cult” able to unify their subjects and, at the same time, subvert the lands they aimed to conquer. Aizawa named this “popular unity and allegiance” created by the state cult kokutai. The notion of kokutai thus also came to mean “the unity of religion and government” (saisei itchi) which could be “used by a ruler to create spiritual unity and integration among his subjects” (Wakabayashi 1986: 13, 142). This was the methodology through which peoples were transformed into nations.

Furthermore, Aizawa conceptually linked the idea of shinkoku to kokutai through the idea of an unbroken lineage of emperors (bansei ikkei). Aizawa (1986 [1825]: 170) explains:

Though present and past be far removed, His Imperial Majesty is a Descendant of the same Dynastic Line founded by Amaterasu. The masses below are descendants of those masses first blessed by Amaterasu’s loving grace in antiquity. If we establish a set of doctrines for the people in keeping with their indomitable spirit, […] and if we rectify the loyalty of subject for lord and make warmer still the affection between parent and child, then it will not be difficult to edify the people and achieve spiritual unity.

Shinkoku refers in Aizawa’s conceptualization to the mytho-history of Japan, a form of mis-remembering, which is used to describe the bakuhan order. Thus, kokutai becomes the warrant of “Japan’s uniqueness as a civilization and eternity as a state” (Harootunian 1970: 91–92, 100). Through mytho-history, the emperor was to be considered the sacred pillar of Japanese society and its political regime, both being symbolically united to the emperor.

http://www.dijtokyo.org/doc/dij-jb15_Guillaume.pdf

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby sanjaykumar » 13 Mar 2013 09:19

I note with satisfaction that indeed it was a Japanese who anticipated my thesis of Christianity as the 'killer' app nearly 200 years before I did.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanku » 13 Mar 2013 10:15

Surasena wrote:Sankuji you might be interested in the following book:


Thank you Surasena-ji; I will try and read this.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 13 Mar 2013 21:07

"KOKUTAI" AND "A LONG-RANGE POLICY"

Aizawa's New Theses explained how the bakufu might create national strength and wealth in 1825 to meet the Western threat posed mainly by Christianity. This threat, though unique in its magnitude, was not unprecedented in Japanese history. Earlier, Buddhism had entered Japan.

The practitioners of this doctrine sought to transform our Divine Land into another India, to convert innocent subjects of our Middle Kingdom into followers of the Indian barbarians. When transformed by barbarism within, how can "what is essential to a nation" (kokutai) remain intact?. . . Due to their adoration of India, those members [of the True Pure Land Sect] forsook our Middle Kingdom; due to their devotion to Buddhist clerics, they forsook ruler and parent.80

Partly because of this earlier Buddhist "transformation" of Japanese customs, beliefs, and values, Japan's kokutai, or "what was essential for it to be a nation,"81 had been gravely endangered. Heresy and dissention within created national weakness which foreign enemies could exploit. In 1825, Aizawa feared subversion by alien heresies, not invasion by Western military forces, chiefly threatened the independence and integrity of Japan's bakuhan state. Aizawa's knowledge of the West had shown him that a nation must possess something of more basic importance than wealth and armed strength:

Just what is essential (tai/t'i) for a land and people to be a nation (kuni)? Without four limbs, a man is not a man. Similarly, a nation also possesses some essence [or requisite and defining entity that makes it a nation] (kokutai).

Certain people stress the need to enrich our country and strengthen our arms in order to defend our borders. But the foreign beasts now seek to take advantage of the fact that people in outlying areas crave a source of spiritual reliance, and furtively seduce our commoners into betraying us. Should the barbarians win over our people's hearts and minds, they will have captured the realm without a skirmish. Then the wealth and strength that these people stress will no longer be ours to employ. In effect, we would provide arms for the brigand and provisions for the bandit. What a pity if, after all our meticulous planning and painstaking effort, we merely ended up joining the enemy's ranks!81 (emphasis added)

Wealth and strength were worthless unless Japan's people willingly placed these resources at the bakufu's disposal. Conversely, if foreigners won the people's allegiance, Japan's autonomy and territorial integrity would cease. Securing "our people's hearts and minds" was essential to the bakufu as a national government. Sage emperors had accomplished this in antiquity: "All people in the realm were of one heart and mind; they were so endeared of their rulers that separation was unbearable."82 This national spiritual unity-the voluntary affection and trust that commoners felt for their rulers-was what Aizawa basically meant by kokutai in New Theses. As Bito Masashide argues in his seminal articles on Mito Learning, rulers produced this affection, trust, allegiance, and unity from above through manipulation.83 The threat from Christianity and the West would be overcome only when bakufu rulers achieved this original kokutai. Only then would wealth and strength take on meaning for the nation.


Western rulers recently had "stolen the sages' ch'uan" and learned the technique of creating religious doctrines to instill unity and loyalty in their peoples. In stark contrast, Japanese rulers had neglected and lost this ch'uan. Aizawa, the historian, delved into Japan's past to discover what had gone wrong and how to set it right again. His conclusion was: "The Way that Amaterasu used in antiquity to administer the realm, to achieve spiritual unity among the people, and to endear them inseparably to their rulers can be used today."84 In "Kokutai" and "A Long-Range Policy," he clarified how this Way had produced popular allegiance in antiquity and proposed how to recover it.

Yukoku and Aizawa held that the sages' original intent (whether they be Chinese or Japanese) was to nourish the people, eliminate hardship from their lives, and provide ethical instruction and spiritual fulfillment.85 Basing himself on myths found in Kojiki and Nihon shoki, Aizawa asserted that Amaterasu bestowed the gift of rice upon her people because of her great concern for their welfare.86 Thus, rice was her sacred gift to the Japanese people alone. As her descendants, they were obliged to treasure and revere this cereal, to display unceasing gratitude to her, and to extend this feeling of gratitude to her lineal descendants on the imperial throne.87 Amaterasu also had provided the Japanese people with silk to make clothing88 and with other items that made daily life less toilsome. As a result of this original gift of rice bestowed by Amaterasu, and in part because Japan was climatically suited to the cultivation of grains, Japanese customs and folkways had been cast along certain distinctive lines: "Our people do not eat flesh and drink blood as the barbarians do, hence, our country has been known as 'The Land of Ripening Rice Crests' since ancient times."89 Such particularities of diet and dress, Aizawa held, were an important part of Japan's kokutai and had to be preserved...

Finally, Amaterasu provided her people with ethical instruction. This was not expressed in words; it was embodied in the Three Imperial regalia and conveyed through religious rituals. The jewel, mirror, and sword, embodied virtue, wisdom, and courage respectively.90 The Daijo, Niiname, and other rituals were means to teach loyalty and filial devotion.91 This was the Way that, according to Aizawa, Amaterasu had established in antiquity-nourishing the people, eliminating hardship from their lives, and providing them with ethical instruction and spiritual fulfillment.92 The last aspect of this Way-Amaterasu's methods of edifying her people and meeting their needs-is the most important to consider here...

With regard to Amaterasu and her Way, Aizawa wrote:

In antiquity, Amaterasu (Tenso) established teachings (oshie) in accordance with the "spirit-like processes of nature", thus elucidating loyalty and filial devotion and prescribing the rules of conduct by which men live. It is by means of these teachings that the realm can be maintained for all eternity.94 (emphasis added)...

In that era, Japan's sage emperors gained the people's willing compliance to the teachings of Amaterasu, founder of their imperial line. They did this not by resorting to arguments or explanations, but by employing the mystical, suggestive power of ritual:

In antiquity, religious ritual corresponded to government, administration was ultimately identical with edification, and the people looked to their leaders for the fulfillment of their desires. . . . There was a ritual for every meaning His Majesty sought to convey, and through these rituals, the people became aware that the Emperor's [heartfelt wishes were] intended to benefit them. They rejoiced in this realization and their loyal and filial devotion were made pure and directed to but one object.
98

In this manner, the sage emperors of antiquity achieved spiritual unity; "each person was loyal to his own ruler and all revered the imperial court." Through state-prescribed rituals, each sage emperor conveyed the meaning of "service to Heaven," "reverence to ancestors," "love of the people," and gratitude to Amaterasu for her gifts of rice and silk which nurtured and clothed his people.99 The imperial descendants of Amaterasu communicated this gratitude not through explanations or lectures, but through the Niiname and Daijo rituals, during which each emperor personally consumed newly harvested grain every fall and at the beginning of his reign. By viewing the emperor himself cherishing this precious commodity bestowed by Amaterasu, all persons who witnessed the ritual could not but come under his inducing influence (kwa). The people became one with him in reverent appreciation for blessings received, and they submitted to the Way without question. This was the sages' ch'uan for securing people's trust and allegiance.

Another important characteristic of kokutai, or the spiritual unity and popular allegiance which had made Japan strong and wealthy in antiquity, was that all spiritual authority stemmed from the imperial court: It outlawed other teachings and ritual practices as heresies: "The performance of all religious rituals was subject to Court control, and the myriad deities of the land were integrated within a [centralized] system."100 Former sage emperors had worshiped local deities and heroes by distributing cloth offerings (heihaku) to shrines in the provinces, and thereby inspired reverent loyalty in people living there.101 They had secured popular support in outlying areas through other methods as well. In antiquity, sacrificial rice fields and ritual sites for the Daijo and Niiname rituals were selected anew through divination on each occasion. Every year the rituals took place in different provinces, so people in all parts of the realm could witness the proceedings.102 Moreover, people not residing in the province where one or the other ritual took place could still view the imperial processions passing along the nation's highways.103 Residents of the province where the ritual took place bore its expenses; they felt honored and privileged to play a part in its successful completion.104

Sujin was the sage emperor who perceived most astutely the need to carry out ritual performances in view of as many of the realm's people as possible:

In those days, the Court still followed the ancient custom of worshiping the Sacred Mirror, the embodiment of Amaterasu [privately] within the imperial palace. The emperor [Sujin], however, was awe-struck and ill at ease. Therefore he transferred this imperial treasure to Kasanui, where he worshipped it publicly. He hoped to turn it into an object that everyone in the realm might revere with him. His Majesty's action was intended to make reverence for Amaterasu something common to the court and people, and to show the people that their worship of Amaterasu at once constituted reverence for the imperial court.105

Aizawa presents an enlightening explanation for Sujin's actions:

By worshiping Amaterasu [privately] within court enclosures, earlier emperors had offered the full measure of their sincere devotion to Her, it is true. But the significance of [earlier] emperors' ritual acts was lost on the people below. By worshipping Amaterasu publicly, Emperor Sujin displayed his sincere devotion to the whole realm. Thus, the people grasped the significance of His Majesty's act [directly and sensually], not through explanations or lectures.106

Aizawa then attributed to Sujin sageliness and political acumen equal to that of the Duke of Chou:

The ancients [i.e., Mencius] said, "Filial devotion by the realm en masse is the ultimate in filial devotion." When the Duke of Chou was praised in antiquity for having attained the "ultimate in filial devotion," it was because everyone in the realm [joined him] in worshiping his ancestors, each person according to his proper status. The Duke of Chou did not worship his parents within ritual-hall confines, but in public, together with his people. No doubt he had the same idea as Emperor Sujin.107

Here we see another important element for "sageliness" for Aizawa-political calculation behind the conduct of ritual.108 Aizawa argued that through religious rituals, Japanese sage emperors of antiquity had produced spiritual unity and allegiance, and thereby achieved kokutai. In later eras this kokutai disintegrated for two reasons. First, "wicked heresies" (jasetsu) from abroad, such as Buddhism and Christianity, created spiritual divisiveness. Second, "changed historical forces" (jisei no hen), such as those leading to warrior supremacy and the establishment of bakufu ruler, required the altering of political institutions.

But the original blame for Japan's loss of kokutai, Aizawa tacitly admitted, lay with the imperial court:

In later ages, rulers conducted these affairs [rituals and politics] in an abbreviated and simplified manner. The sacrificial rice fields and ritual sites employed in the Daijo ritual [which formerly had been located in different provinces from year to year], became permanently established [in Omi, Tamba, and Bitchu Provinces]. The ritual itself then became limited to the area in and around the capital. The emperor's will and the significance behind his religious rituals were lost upon the people in the realm as a whole. . . .

Thus [in later ages], rulers might explain and lecture to every household and domicile in the land; yet not a soul could be made to understand. These same rituals, though extant today, have lost their [mystical, transforming] function. How lamentable indeed!109

Astute sage emperors such as Sujin had taken pains to perform state rituals in full public view in order to achieve the desired effects. But from the mid-Heian period onward,110 emperors (and shoguns) neglected and ignored the political ends that religious rituals and their mystical, suggestive power should be employed to achieve. Latter-day rulers "simply conducted rituals in a perfunctory fashion, ignoring the significance contained therein." As a result, "the myriad deities and countless rituals lacked systematic organization and coherence; the people no longer directed their devotion to a single object."111

Aizawa did not reprove latter-day emperors explicitly, but alert readers will readily discern his critical attitude. Those emperors failed to utilize religious rituals to evoke voluntary affection and trust from the people-this was the fundamental reason why Amaterasu's Way declined in Japan. Unlike Confucian historians in the early and mid-Tokugawa eras, who criticized emperors for turpitude, Aizawa placed the imperial court above moral judgement. Yukoku and Aizawa skirted the question of the emperors' moral and political culpability through the concept of sei, "historical forces or conditions."112 According to their view, the seizure of imperial prerogatives at court by Fujiwara regents (sessho) and civil dictators (kampaku), the eclipse of this sekkan government due to rising warrior clans in the provinces, Yoritomo's establishment of bakufu ruler, the period of disorder civil war and Ieyasu's reestablishment of bakufu rule that followed-were all beyond human power to alter. These developments resulted from "historical forces or conditions" or from a "constant tendency" for "orderly rule and anarchy" to follow each other in recurring fashion.113 This concept of sei, the impersonal forces, conditions, or laws that moved history, in Aizawa's view, required no further explanation and absolved emperors of all personal responsibility. Eeven so, Aizawa had to admit that the spiritual unity created by sage emperors in antiquity diminished and disappeared when later emperors stopped performing religious rituals properly. And Japan's people became susceptible to foreign heresies such as Buddhism because of that spiritual disunity and unrest:

In subsequent ages rulers lacked vision and planning, and they made but a pretense of serving Heaven and revering ancestors. As a result, the people lost their object of reverential awe in life and their place of repose in death. Doubts and fears arose among them, and they began to yearn for a source of spiritual reliance. Then the Western barbarians succeeded in striking further anxiety in the commoners' hearts by spreading doctrines of paradise and hell.114

At present, commoners "embrace the foreigners' words of religion as they long for a mother's compassion; they are attracted to any pernicious doctrine from abroad because they need a basis of spiritual reliance within. . . ."115 It was this "spiritual void," which Ohara Sakingo also had detected, that was so easy for the barbarians to take advantage of. This was Japan's greatest vulnerability to foreign incursion in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

In antiquity, Aizawa argued, Japan's sage emperors had "transformed" barbarians such as the Ezo, Emishi, Hayato, Kumaso, and the inhabitants of Korea, Siberia, and other lands on the continent to the ways of civilization. Now the tables were reversed:

The Western barbarians have grown tremendously powerful in recent times; what is more, they too have learned how to discern prevailing conditions confronting them and to ply stratagems of their own. . . . They have appropriated the very stratagem that our sage emperors in antiquity once used to subjugate barbarians, and at this moment, seek to turn it against our Middle Kingdom.116

Although their teachings were wickedly false, barbarian leaders seemed to display certain characteristics of sageliness. The threat posed by them necessitated a reapplication of "the sages' ch'uan" by bakufu leaders responsible for Japan's defense: "We must transform them [the Western barbarians] by appropriating the very Way they now seek to use to transform us."117 The Tokugawa bakufu could achieve kokutai as it once existed in antiquity by utilizing the emperor to conduct religious state rituals.118 At present, the emperor was "conducting these rituals in an abbreviated and simplified manner," he "made but a pretense of 'serving Heaven' and 'revering ancestors'"; and he did so within court enclosures as emperors before Sujin (who lacked sagely acumen) had done. The bakufu now had to place the emperor on public display, so that it could exploit the mystical, transforming power latent in his officially prescribed rituals and thus create popular unity and allegiance. In short, Aizawa, argued that the bakufu should and must avail itself of the emperor's religious authority to shore up its own political authority.

Western Learning played a key role in shaping Aizawa's concept of Japan's kokutai. Knowledge acquired from abroad convinced him that the strength of Western nations stemmed from their rulers' use of religion as an integral part of government. Through Christian "ritual and music," rulers in the West produced spiritual unity and allegiance at home. And away from home, "they defeated enemy armies without resorting to battle and conquered territories intact" which was the best of all possible victories119 according to Sun Tzu. The bakufu Aizawa urged, should emulate these shrewd foreign leaders by reviving Amaterasu's Way, her form of ritual and music, which in Japan had fallen into neglect after the coming of Buddhism, the rise of Fujiwara regencies, and the emergence of warrior rule. Aizawa's knowledge of contemporary Western political institutions, though not abundant and often inaccurate, provided an alternative model with which to contrast the existing Tokugawa socio-political order. This contrast led him to study his own nation's history to determine why and how the separation of "religion and government" and of "education and administration" had taken place. Through this reexamination of history-including the so-called Age of the Gods, which earlier Confucian historians had dismissed as mythology-Aizawa concluded that a long process of secularization had occurred in Japanese society. This secularization, which increased with each change in historical conditions or "Great Transformation" in Japan's past, had weakened and impoverished the nation both spiritual and materially.120

In sum, Western Learning convinced Aizawa that the main foreign threat to Japan's bakuhan state in 1825 was not a military threat, it stemmed from the popular spiritual unity that he believed Western rulers had achieved through their state cult of Christianity. This discovery led him to compose New Theses, in which he argued that the bakufu must establish a similar state cult to create a similar form of popular spiritual unity, or kokutai. Only then could Japan overcome its present foreign crisis. he urged bakufu leaders to include religious elements in their administration, not through proscription or family-temple registration systems, which served merely to suppress deviance, but by evoking voluntary, active allegiance among Japan's masses. Aizawa proposed that the bakufu could compensate for inadequacies in its traditional methods of social control-so unsuccessful in winning popular support-by reviving and utilizing the Emperor's religio-political role as the performer of prescribed state rituals.121 Then religion and government, as well as administration and edification, would be one in Japan too.

Source: Anti-Foreignism and Western Learning in Early-Modern Japan: The New Theses of 1825 by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, 1986, pg's 123-133

ramana
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 14 Mar 2013 01:11

Surasena, Please post the above in the Indian Interests thread.

Add to it what is India's "kokutai" IOW what makes India, Indian.

member_19686
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 15 Mar 2013 12:02

Excerpts
 from
 Shinron (New
Theses): 
“The
Barbarians’
Nature”
by 
Aizawa
 Seishisai


The
 bakufu
 once
 made
 it
 plain
 to
 Russia
 that
 Japanese
 law
 requires
 us
 to
 destroy
 on
 sight
 any
 barbarian
 ship
 approaching
 our
 coasts.
 But
 now
 the
 English
 regularly
 appear
 and
 anchor off 
our 
shores,
 and
 we
 do
 not 
lift
 a 
finger 
to 
drive 
them 
away. 
[Quite
 the
 contrary,
 as 
in
 the recent
 Ōtsuhama 
affair,] 
when 
they
 have
 the
 gall 
to
 land,
 we 
go 
out
 of
 our way
 to
 provide

for
 their 
needs 
and 
send 
them 
merrily
 along.
 Will 
the
 barbarians 
have
 any respect 
for
 our 
laws
 after 
they hear 
about
 this?
 The
 English 
come
 and
 go
 as 
they
 please,
 draw 
maps
 and 
sketch
 our
 terrain,
 disrupt
 our
 inter‑island
 transport
 system,
 and
 win
 over
 our
 commoners
 with
 their
 occult 
religion 
and
 the
 lure
 of 
profit.
 If 
smuggling 
increases
 and
 we 
fail 
to
 stop
 commoners
 from
 aiding
 and
 abetting
 the
 barbarians,
 who 
knows 
what future 
conspiracies
 may
 hatch?

But
 our
 temporizing, 
gloss‑it‑over
 officials
 reply, 
“The 
foreigners 
are
 just 
fishermen 
and
 merchants
 doing
 nothing
 out
 of
 the
 ordinary;
 there 
is
 no
 cause
 for
 alarm.”
What
 simpletons!
 The 
barbarians 
live
 ten
 thousand miles 
across
 the sea; 
when
 they
 set
 off
 on
 foreign 
conquests,
 “they 
must 
procure 
supplies 
and
 provisions from
 the
 enemy.”
 That 
is
 why
 they
 trade
 and
 fish.
 Their
 men‑of‑war
 are
 self‑sufficient
 away
 from
 home.
 If
 their
 only
 motive
 for
 harpooning
 whales 
was 
to 
obtain
 whale 
meat,
they 
could do 
so
 in
 their 
own
 waters.
 Why
 should
 they 
risk
 long, 
difficult 
voyages
 just
 to 
harpoon
 whales
 in
 eastern
 seas?

(Gloss:
 The
 waters 
off
 Greenland,
 for
 example,
teem
 with
 whales.
That
 is 
why 
barbarian
 whalers
 from
 all
 over
 the
 world
 go
 there. 
Moreover,
 Greenland 
is
 but
 a
 short
 voyage
 from 
England.)

Their
 ships 
can 
be
 outfitted 
for
 trading,
 or
 fishing, 
or fighting.
 Can
 anyone 
guarantee 
that 
their
 merchant
 vessels
 and
 fishing
boats
 of 
today
 will 
not 
turn 
into
 warships
 tomorrow?
…

But
 some
 dimwits
 argue,
 “The
 warriors
 of
 our
 Divine
 Realm
 have
 been
 peerless
 throughout
 the
 world
 since
 antiquity.
 The
 barbarians
 are
 puny
 runts;
 there
 is
 no
 cause
 for alarm.”
 True,
 the
 fighting men
 of 
our 
Divine
 Realm
 are
 brave
 and
 skilled
 in
warfare, 
and
 our
 customs
 reinforce
 this

 [native
 martial
 spirit]. 
But
 times 
change;
 there
 are
 eras
 of
 weakness
 as
 well 
as
 strength.
 During
 the 
Warring
 States 
period
 [1467‑1568], 
our 
warriors
 were
 truly
 fit
 for
 combat;
 proper 
movements 
on
 the
battlefield
 were 
simple 
reflex 
actions. 
Our 
warriors
 proved
 their
 valor
 through
 actual
 battlefield
 achievements,
 such
 as
 capturing
 enemy
 banners
 or
 beheading
 enemy 
generals. 
But
 two 
hundred 
years
 have
 passed
 since 
our 
warriors 
last
 tasted
battle. 
How 
many
 of
 them
 today 
are 
trained
 well 
enough
 to 
cope 
with 
the
 sudden
 thrusts 
and
 feints
 or
 the
 other
 complexities
 of
 warfare?
 The
 weak‑hearted
 would
 flee
 for
 their
 lives,
 disrupting
 the
 ranks;
 the
 courageous 
would
 die meaninglessly,
 their
 valor
 coming
 to
 naught.
 Our
 skill
 and
 valor do
 not 
guarantee
 victory.
 When
 the 
Mongols
 attacked
 [in
 1274
 and
 1281],
 the 
military
 prowess
 of 
our
 Divine 
Realm
 was
 at its 
prime.
 But
 due
 to
 our
 ignorance 
of
 enemy
 formations
 and
 tactics,
 our
 valor
 counted
 for
 little.
 Our
 headlong
 charges
 led
 only
 to
 self‑decimation.
 This
 is
 why
 I
 maintain
 that
 victory
 in
 war
 depends
 entirely
 on
 the
 statesman‑general’s
 stratagems
 and
 long‑range
 planning.
 But
 the
 art
 of
 war
 as
 taught
 today
 consists
 of
 outmoded ideas
 and
 tactics
 employed
 by
 medieval
 generals 
like
 Takeda
 Shingen
 and 
Uesugi
 Kenshin.
We 
do 
not
observe 
foreign 
troops 
directly, 
nor
 do 
we 
gather 
information
 about 
them.
 Once
 war 
breaks
 out,
 they
 may
 engage 
us 
in
 a
 totally 
unexpected
 way,
so 
it
 is
 a 
poor 
idea
 to
 rely
 solely 
on 
our 
reputation for
 valor.


The 
barbarians 
coming
 to
 spy
 on
 our 
Middle 
Kingdom
 during
 the 
past
 three 
hundred
 years
 arrived
 one
 after
 another
 from
 various 
nations.
 Though
 their 
homelands 
differ,
 they
 all
 revere 
the
 same 
god.
 This
 means that
 Christianity
 has
 had
 designs 
on
 our
 Middle 
Kingdom 
for
 the 
past 
three
 hundred
 years.
 In 
dealing 
with 
this 
[sustained
 threat], 
our 
Middle
 Kingdom
 has
 on each
 occasion 
adopted 
a 
different
 policy 
based 
on
 the 
then‑prevalent
 opinion. 
The 
predators
 have
 a 
firm, 
fixed 
objective
 and
 steadfastly 
try 
to 
achieve it;
 the
 prey
 intermittently
 changes 
its
 defense
 posture,
 at
 times
 assuming
 the
 hard‑line,
 at
 times,
 the
 soft‑line,
 always
 vacillating
 between 
the 
two.
 Who 
can 
guarantee
 that the 
predators 
forever
 will 
meet
 frustration 
trying
 to
 discover 
our
 weaknesses?
 To
 turn
 our 
vacillation 
into
 constancy
 of 
purpose and 
eliminate
 the
 weaknesses
 we
 posses,
 we
 first
 must
 fully
 understand
 the
 barbarians’
 nature.
 We
 first
 must
 fully 
understand 
the
 barbarians’
 nature.

http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ps/japan/ ... hinron.pdf

Barbarians are, after all, barbarians. It is only natural that they adhere to a barbarian Way, and normally we could let things go at that. But today they have their hearts set on transforming our Middle Kingdom Civilization to barbarism. They will not rest until they desecrate the gods, and destroy the Way of Virtue . . . Either we transform them or they will transform us-we are on a collision course.

- Seishisai Aizawa

I am therefore convinced that our policy should be to stake everything on the present opportunity, to conclude friendly alliances, to send ships to foreign countries everywhere and conduct trade, to copy the foreigners where they are at their best, and so repair our shortcomings, to foster our national strength and complete our armaments, and so gradually subject the foreigners to our influence until in the end all the countries of the world know the blessings of perfect tranquility and our hegemony is acknowledged throughout the globe.

- Masayoshi Hotta (1810-1864)

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 50415
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 21 Mar 2013 03:08

X-Posted from Prespectives thread in Econ& Tech Forum:


The Sun sets on the Modern Merchant Class!!!



If anyone has been following the threads on BRF since the 2008 Western financial crisis this was the one liner we have been saying.


The Sun Sets on the Modern Merchant Class

By David Priestland

As we struggle to emerge from the 2008 financial crisis, we may now have enough distance to understand its real significance.

Immediate judgments were often very flawed. For example, then-president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, brandished a copy of Das Kapital before the press to show his deep, structural understanding of the catastrophic events in the international markets. The implied message: Capitalism is doomed, as anyone can see. But there was no Marxist revival, and capitalism has not collapsed. Indeed, in the global East it is positively flourishing. Capitalism seems to have an assured future, at least in the medium term.

More influential than Sarkozy's structural explanation is a moral one. This has been a short-term crisis caused, the argument goes, by greed and recklessness—whether of bankers or borrowers, depending on your political outlook. And yet in some ways, Sarkozy has a point that the moralists ignore. Our recent model of capitalism has involved spiraling inequality and unsustainable trade and financial imbalances. Debt, it is clear, was simply obscuring deep problems within the world economy, giving the lie to the laissez-faire belief that ever more open markets are the high road to stability.

The moral explanation of the crisis, then, explains neither its cause nor its lingering effects, and I've come to the conclusion that a Marxist view of the recession is helpful in highlighting a historical and structural, rather than a moral, perspective. For 2008 must be seen as a major turning point in the economic and political history of the world, as were 1929 and the 1970s.

But the Marxist lens is limiting because this period has been less a crisis of a class order than of a caste order. In particular, 2008 is the beginning of the end of the 30-year dominance of the modern merchant caste.

{Its the East India Company based trading system which took over the Indian merchant system of world trade. And was further taken over by the US. We are seeing its decline/}

For Marx, economic class was the overwhelmingly critical factor explaining people's politics. But that approach left out much that is important beyond pure economic interest, such as ideas, values, and culture. Marx was right to see our occupations as central to identity. And the concept of "caste" allows us to understand the importance of work in its broader cultural context.

This is something the ancients understood. They saw society as an aggregation of various occupational groups that each has its own ethos. In the medieval West, they were called "orders," and in India they are still called "castes" (varna). According to ancient Hindu ideas, each varna has its own dharma, or morality and way of life. And many cultures identified four castes or orders: the priests or "sages," who specialized in ideas; the rulers/warriors, who were expert in force and authority; the merchants, who ran trade and finance; and the peasants and workers.

Of course, applying an archaic system like this to our modern age may seem simplistic and wrong-headed, but in fact this premodern sociology has modern resonances. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's notion that social and occupational networks generate their own habitus, or set of practices and attitudes, is not far from the Indian concepts of varna and dharma. :rotfl:

The merchant, ruling without constraint, brings his own particular kind of catastrophe: roller-coaster economic instability and vertiginous inequality.Also, while our modern societies are more complex than those of the medieval agrarian world, we can nevertheless understand our world in terms of the four main castes: warrior, merchant, sage, and worker. Warriors may have less status in the West than they once did, but they are still present in armies, police, and security forces—and in sport, where they compete for honor and fame. Sages have become far more influential—no longer as priests, but as professionals and technocrats. Worker power has waxed and waned, but the traditional values of the worker—equality and solidarity—remain important. However, it is the rise of the merchant, from a marginal position in premodern societies to near omnipotence today, that is most striking.

Of course, we are shaped not only by the ethos of our occupation. Family, gender, ethnic, and national identity have an influence, as does generational experience. But broad occupational categories are still central in forming our outlook and values. This is confirmed by recent research by Jason Jensen and others that shows that public-sector workers are likely to have more economically egalitarian outlooks than are those in the private sector. Similarly, as Herbert Kitschelt and Daniel Oesch have argued, those whose jobs allow substantial autonomy are more likely to be culturally liberal than are those whose jobs are highly managed. The same for those whose jobs involve interacting with people rather than with processes or technology.

It is, then, these castes, or occupational-cultural groups, that compete and ally with one another to achieve hegemony—not only over our politics and economics, but also over the way we think. History, therefore, is less the story of class struggle or the inexorable "progress" toward liberty than it is of cycles of caste alliances, which emerge and dominate their societies for periods of time before collapsing. Indeed, history has seen several sharp reversals of apparently hegemonic caste orders—the most vulnerable often being the least balanced and inclusive. That is because individual castes, if too dominant, have a tendency to undermine the prevailing order. Sage-technocrats, unchecked, often bring bureaucratic ossification; workers, ruling alone, find it difficult to achieve broader economic prosperity; and warriors fuel endless wars of honor and revenge. The merchant, ruling without constraint, brings his own particular kind of catastrophe: roller-coaster economic instability and vertiginous inequality.

The year 2008 marked the crisis of the merchant ethos at its most extreme, and we can best understand both the strengths and the fragilities of the merchant order if we look at the last time that merchants were allowed to become globally dominant—the 1920s.

Bruce Barton's The Man Nobody Knows was the nonfiction Da Vinci Code of its day. Loathed by critics, the 1925 work soared to the top of the U.S. best-seller lists and stayed there throughout 1926. Like Dan Brown's magnum opus, it offered a distinctly eccentric reading of the life of Christ. For Barton—co-founder of the Mad Men-type advertising company BBDO—Christ had been seriously misrepresented. Far from the "meek and lowly" beta male of the gospels, he was a real go-getter—the greatest ad man the world has ever known. As competition raged in the first-century market for religion—with supply far outstripping demand—Christ used inspired "ad campaigns," the miracles and parables, to build a whole new customer base.

Today, Barton's book seems a preposterous example of "roaring 20s" boosterism. But the book captured something important about the spirit of that age, and its popularity helps to explain why that gilded era crash-landed in 1929. Barton's Christ of the Latter-day Ad Men also sheds much light on our own economic troubles, and vividly illustrates the perils of allowing merchant values to hold sway in all spheres of life.

Crucial to the dominance of the merchant in the 1920s was a disillusionment with war and with the wartime influence of the soldier, of the worker (bolstered by labor unions), and especially of the sage—the planners and bureaucrats who built warfare states and the welfare states that came with them.

{Some thing for the sage MMS to ponder about in his quest for economic progress at all costs.}

Barton, born in 1886 to a clergyman's family in Tennessee, had precisely this reaction to the war. He had been a mild Progressivist in his youth, like many educated people of his generation, believing in sage activism, state-led social reform, and strict regulation of "robber baron" tycoons. But the collectivism and labor power brought by World War I changed all of that.

Like many other Americans, he rejected the sages' wartime "statism," represented by bookish President Woodrow Wilson—the only Ph.D. who ever made it to the Oval Office. These Americans blamed European warrior-aristocrats for the killing fields, and saw Soviet Communism as giving a terrifying new power to the worker. The merchant became their hero—especially tolerant, "soft" merchants like Barton's affable Christ, "the most popular dinner guest in Jerusalem." And the merchant ideal spread throughout the wealthier parts of the world. In 1922 the Rotary businessmen's clubs renamed themselves "Rotary International," echoing the Communist International, and declared that their goal was to challenge Communism and "promote international peace" through a world fellowship of businessmen. Merchants of the world, like proletarians, were uniting.

Meanwhile Washington—eagerly assisted by London—helped spread merchant values across the globe. Private lending was used to revive a war-shattered Europe. Moreover, the gold standard—the touchstone of the merchant economy—was revived, for stability of the currency was sacrosanct, even while growth and jobs perished. Even the Soviet Communist Party went along with the fashion: Lenin introduced a limited market economy, and the ruble returned to the gold standard in 1924, with the unlikely support of Joseph Stalin.

History is less the story of class struggle or the inexorable "progress" toward liberty than of cycles of caste alliances, which emerge and dominate their societies for periods of time before collapsing.

Initially, the merchant seemed dizzyingly successful. In the mid-1920s, Wall Street loans flooded into Europe, and especially Germany. With the dollars came the first American age in Europe: a new consumer civilization of advertising, democratized Hollywood celebrity, and branded goods—from Carnation Milk to Kellogg's Corn Flakes.

The workerist left still had a good deal of power in this smokestack industrial economy, as did nationalists; and Europe's warrior empires still held sway over large areas of the globe. Even so, many believed that the merchant's time had come. In 1927 the popular French author André Siegfried published America Comes of Age, in which he argued that a new "American civilization" of mass production and consumerism was relegating old Europe "to a niche in the history of mankind."

However, as the German playwright Bertolt Brecht acidly wrote in 1930, the American age "looked like lasting a thousand ... but endured a bare eight years." For the merchant was brought low by two fundamental flaws: a high tolerance for extreme inequality and a love of "flexible," laissez-faire finance.


The problem was (and is) that merchants believed in the moral justice of market reward; they disliked redistribution, which they were convinced rewarded the lazy. But lightly regulated markets, where labor was weak, concentrated wealth in the hands of a few. And that left businesspeople with a conundrum—who would buy their goods? The merchant solution was straightforward: The wealthy lent the poor the cash to keep the economy going. This had the additional advantage of expanding a business—finance—in which merchants liked to invest (the 1920s saw the birth of the consumer-credit industry). This kind of economic model did not require the risky, technically complex long-term commitment of investment in productive industry, and it was far more profitable in the short term.

Yet this borrowing for consumption was unsustainable. And when the bubble burst, in October 1929, Barton's "soft" consumerist merchant suddenly turned much "harder" and more moralistic—insisting that debts be repaid, the gold standard upheld, and austerity imposed. The result was catastrophe: an American crash was transmitted globally to become a decade-long worldwide depression.

The disaster of the 1930s was so profound that merchant values came under severe attack—even in the United States. Franklin D. Roosevelt famously compared bankers and traders to the "money changers" Jesus Christ had expelled from the temple—a language we rarely hear today. For his New Deal he turned to sagely solutions—employing economic planners, breaking up the banks, and empowering government in welfare and direct job creation.

However, globally it was not the sage who emerged victorious from the wreckage of the merchant rule of the 1920s—it was the warrior. That is because debt crises bring social and international conflict in their wake, with confrontations between lenders and borrowers over who should repay the debts and bear the burden of deflation (i.e., falling living standards). And in these charged circumstances, both radical left and right looked to the warrior for solutions. Debt-crippled Germany was hit particularly hard, creating the social context for Hitler's rise. In the Soviet Union, too, the failures of the market-friendly 1920s convinced Stalin that the highly militarized and bureaucratic "command economy" was the only option. The soldier, banished from power after 1918, was returning to the stage, albeit in a less aristocratic, more populist guise.

Ultimately, it took the horrific experience of world war and the deaths of some 60 million to lay the foundations for a new caste compromise, in which the sage-technocrat would take the leading role. The massive mobilization of people, material, and science brought the rise of a confident technocratic ideology of modernization and development—a compelling alternative to merchant liberalism. For all remembered the disasters of merchant rule in the 1920s; indeed, they blamed it for the rise of fascism and the onset of war.

Technocratic sages emerged ascendant everywhere in the two decades following World War II—from Nehru's India to Mao's China. But even in Western Europe and America, there was a new determination to impose limits on merchant power. Most important, the Bretton Woods international financial system of 1944 imposed strict regulation on the movement of international finance; no longer could bankers shift capital around the globe at whim or will. This prevented them from sabotaging government policies designed to build welfare systems and invest in long-term economic development. It also delivered 25 years of relatively dynamic growth. In much of Northern Europe, government, banks, and labor unions achieved a degree of harmony that permitted high levels of investment and training in contrast with the 1920s; even in the more free-market United States, defense and higher-education spending encouraged economic growth.

Given this success, why did this sage-led caste order collapse? Again, as in the past, particular castes became too dominant—in this case sages, and to some extent labor—bringing their concomitant problems of bureaucratic rigidity on the one hand and an exclusivist workerism on the other. At the same time, the Bretton Woods system largely excluded the third world, contributing to anti-Western feeling, which in turn encouraged Washington's cold-war militarism.

By the late 1960s the system seemed to many to be working exclusively in the interests of white, middle-aged Western males, whether middle-class technocrats or working-class trade unionists. The Vietnam War symbolized many of these injustices—waged by that arch-corporate technocrat sage Robert McNamara, with his carefully calculated kill ratios, this was a white global superpower bullying a nonwhite peasant society. The 60s protests also showed that a new social group had emerged from the hugely expanded universities, a new, educated "creative" sagely caste, which prized autonomy and was more interested in cultural, gender, and ethnic equality than economics.

So when, by the early 1970s, the postwar economic system began to buckle, groups on both the merchant right and the anti-technocratic left could agree that the merchant's flexibility offered a solution. Moreover, this generation had not lived through the catastrophes of the 1930s. The merchant could now return triumphant—not as Barton's The Man Nobody Knows, but in a new form, promising a world made perfect through peaceful trade.

The fall of Communism seemed to be the final vindication of the merchant's reign, and until 2008 he ruled almost unchallenged. He has dominated the international economy through bond markets. But he has also reordered many national economies by radically restructuring the labor market—through outsourcing and insistence on flexibility, and the deprofessionalization of work. In Europe we even saw the introduction of a mini-gold standard, in the form of the euro—predictably boosting speculation and burdening the poorer economies of the south with mountains of debt. And, as in the 1920s, the rehabilitation of the post-Soviet economies was pursued through private finance, not Marshall Aid-style state largess.

For a while, the attractions of this model seemed overwhelming. The merchant helped finance an alluring consumer culture, now spreading to India and China. Perhaps more strikingly, it is under the auspices of the merchant order that the gender, ethnic, and sexual hierarchies of the old West have finally begun to crumble. For creative sages were right—the merchant could, in some cases, be their ally in promoting a (market-friendly) agenda of cultural equality and rights.

But again, as in the 1920s, the flaws of a purely merchant-dominated order began to emerge. The 1990s saw banking crises, commodity and property bubbles, while the real wages of the majority were stagnating; living standards were actually being maintained through credit. Free global movement of capital also produced grotesque international imbalances between creditors and debtors—though in contrast with the 1920s, the main debtor was now the United States. The lessons of history had been forgotten and repeated.

So what does history suggest will happen now? Are we likely to see a rerun of the conflicts of the 1930s and 1940s? Or can we limit the merchant's power more rapidly and peacefully?

A striking difference with the 1930s has been the sheer resilience of the merchant order. There has been little real challenge to the basis of merchant power, particularly where it is most entrenched, in the United States and Britain. Banks are still the main allocators of our resources, and short-termism is still rife in our stock-market-dominated corporations. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has become a German Hoover, insisting that debts be repaid, austerity imposed, and the euro "gold standard" remain sacrosanct.

What explains the merchant's resilience? In part, governments have prevented the crisis from becoming as severe as it was in the 1930s, through quantitative easing and some fiscal stimulus, and welfare systems have prevented outright destitution. But perhaps more important, our leaders belong to a generation formed by the crisis of the 1970s and 1980s, and remain deeply mistrustful of the sage. Also, among opponents of the merchant, it has proved difficult to forge alliances between the "creative" castes, with their "new left" critiques of technocracy, racism, and sexism, and some worker groups, which remain more focused on economic inequality.

There are slivers of the global economy that have not succumbed entirely to merchant domination. In parts of Northern Europe, something of the sage-led caste compromise of the postwar era has survived, and those economies have been more resilient as a consequence. Similarly, China has permitted the sage more influence.

But we will continue to have an unstable economy until merchants everywhere become willing, or are forced, to share power: with the sage-technocrats, who are capable of shaping the institutions necessary for a productive and environmentally sustainable economy; with the world's workers, who need higher wages if they are to sustain the global economy; and with the creative sages, who rightly argue that greater democracy and equality at work will improve employee well-being as well as productivity.

At the moment, though, a caste compromise of this kind seems unlikely. At the recent Davos gathering of global leaders and CEOs, we saw an only slightly moderated retread of the old market optimism; in the place of rational markets, we now have "resilient dynamism." But this is a theological rather than a practical response, and a dangerous one, too. For if the merchant refuses to share power, he becomes vulnerable to the politics of the warrior. We are already seeing echoes of 1930s-style social tensions: serious civil conflict in Greece; political impasse in Italy; and the rise of a populist right across the Continent and in the United States. Meanwhile, at an international level, trade and currency disputes among states are becoming sharper, while an angry nationalism has erupted in China and Japan.

Adam Smith is rightly seen as the most influential defender of merchants and their ethos. But he was no supporter of unbridled merchant power. His supposed followers would do well to note his categorical warning: "Merchants and manufacturers ... neither are, nor should be, the rulers of mankind." For it is warriors who are the ultimate beneficiaries, and once they become dominant on the political stage, it is very difficult to dislodge them.

David Priestland teaches modern history at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Merchant, Soldier, Sage: A History of the World in Three Castes, new from the Penguin Press, :rotfl: as well as The Red Flag: Communism and the Making of the Modern World (Penguin, 2009).


Western Europe always had these four castes: the Priest/Sage, the Soldier/King and the Merchant/Traders and peasants saw the world through these eyes. The Eastern Europeans had another one of peasants/serfs/slaves.

Vilayat this guy is talking like you!!!!

Finally looks like India has conquered England though he brings in the mythical Christ.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby svinayak » 21 Mar 2013 03:44

ramana wrote:X-Posted from Prespectives thread in Econ& Tech Forum:


The Sun sets on the Modern Merchant Class!!!



If anyone has been following the threads on BRF since the 2008 Western financial crisis this was the one liner we have been saying.


The Sun Sets on the Modern Merchant Class

By David Priestland

As we struggle to emerge from the 2008 financial crisis, we may now have enough distance to understand its real significance.

Western Europe always had these four castes: the Priest/Sage, the Soldier/King and the Merchant/Traders and peasants saw the world through these eyes. The Eastern Europeans had another one of peasants/serfs/slaves.

Vilayat this guy is talking like you!!!!

Finally looks like India has conquered England though he brings in the mythical Christ.


The modern merchant class was built on the back of the Indian Economy which was exploited by East India Company

All the modern global trading and MNC are the followers of the EIC

This was based on trust between merchants and Indian merchant class was the original merchant class of the world. Vyshyas are the true Indian merchant class.

This trading system and trust was abused by the EIC and carried to the modern world and this is the consequence of that we are seeing now.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 21 Mar 2013 05:01

In 1612, in retirement, Ieyasu wrote to the Viceroy of New Spain. He noted, “the religion (hō 法) of your country is very distinct, and would seem to have no affinity with that of ours… Upon thinking matters over, does one not conclude that evangelism (kōhō 弘法) should be brought to an end?"...

Jesuit Regicide

The English sought not only to spread reports of Jesuit malfeasance in Europe but to suggest the same would happen in Japan. It was no longer an issue of invasion by the Catholic nations, but of what the priests, in Japan, might do. In point of fact, the Jesuits in Japan did not overtly seek to destroy anything. Indeed, in the time of Hideyoshi, they were already
offering “continuous masses and prayers” for his “good success and prosperous outcome.”102 As also claimed in Europe, Jesuit policy was to support kings. But it was qualified, and the Jesuit decision, if such it was, to support the Toyotomi over the Tokugawa at Osaka, and to secrete Hideyori to safety, was an error. Their attitude towards authority was, to say the least, nuanced; but it was fully theorized. In 1598, the Spanish Jesuit Juan de Mariana (1536–1624) published de Rege et regis institutione (On the king and the education of the king) in which he argued regicide was acceptable, where a king was a “tyrant,” the definition of which was that they had been declared so by Rome.103 Mariana praised Henry III’s assassin, because of the king’s perceived pro-Protestant stance. It is true that Mariana’s argument was regarded as extreme, but it was widely read. The underlying notion was the Jesuit philosophy of “reasons of state,” first articulated in 1589 by Giovanni Botero (c. 1544–1617), in broad assessment of the proper role of Jesuits in the political process, entitled Della ragion di stato.104 Botero observed that the maintenance of peace sometimes included the need for covert action and dissimulation. As the Jesuits always sought out centres of power, in Japan as elsewhere, they were often accused of Machiavellian realpolitik, and, in effect, of devising a philosophy of manipulation and deceit, called “reasons of state,” but the “state” that the Jesuits were furthering, was actually their own Society, not the government of the land. In Japan, the Jesuit Cristovão Ferreira (c. 1580–1650) invoked this. He also noted that their use of “rezão de estado” had not been appreciated by the shogunate, who were informed of the philosophy behind it by the North European “heretics” (surely the English as the Dutch had not done so), and which amounted to one reason for the Tokugawa ban on Jesuit activity.105 A Japanese apostate also explained the conflict of interest between civil authority and the interests of the Jesuit order in a Japanese idiom: the Jesuits unbalanced the mutuality of the “Buddha’s Dharma and the King’s [viz, shogun’s] Law” (buppō ōbō 仏法王法), placing the one over the other.106

“Reasons of state” worked from inside. It was not open rebellion, but was covert, and it too came with a philosophical underlay in the theory of the Mental Reservation (restrictio mentalis). Statements were clouded in deliberate ambiguity—whence the term “Jesuitical”—so as to make it appear the speaker was saying something he was not, or not saying something he was. Rezão de estado required a finessing of content without lying, which was forbidden by the Ten Commandments. It was never clear where the speaker stood. The Mental Reservation was particularly used in England, where hidden Catholic priests were banned, but would not wish to reveal themselves under interrogation. Not all Jesuits
supported this, but many advised that “no one is bound to confess his faith to someone who questions him, if it means endangering his life.”107 Not confessing meant finding a way to deny it without actually lying. The Jesuits called this “amphibology.”108 It served as a way to side-step all manner of challenges and charges.

Ferreira apostacized while in Japan, and after his denial of Christ he explained the Mental Reservation in a commentary on the Ten Commandments, written in Japanese, imputing the reservation to all believers: “If you meet a Christian and ask him whether or not he is a Christian, he will not deny it but, equivocating (kotoba o magirakashite 詞ヲマギラカシテ), will reply in a form of words that appears to imply he is not. This is what they are trained to do. They, every one of them, turn falsehood into the basis of meaning.”109In fact, the very first act of Jesuit missionary consolidation in the town that became their
center, Nagasaki, was in this mode. When the order to established its first church there in 1569, they ‘dissimulated’ (Port: dissimular). The ‘church’ was a disused temple, but rather than removing the Buddhist icons and replacing them with Christian ones, the Jesuits left the pieces in place, hoodwinking the congregation into thinking the message that they were
preaching was concordant with, not oppositional to, that of the prior-occupants; Gaspar Vilela openly wrote, “I dissimilated, gathering all the heathens of the land, who heard my sermon. The first time they were not very satisfied, but the second time they grasped the true knowledge.” The policy therefore worked and, “in this way in the first year all of them,
who must be 1500 people, were baptised.” Only then his did Vilela “dismantle the pagode [i.e. temple] and I made a very gracious Church of All Saints in it.”
110 This propensity did not go unnoticed in Japan. When Carlo Spinola (1554–1622) was apprehended going about in concealing garments near Hirado (perhaps because of his proximity of the Dutch and
English factories), he was interrogated on behalf of the Japanese authorities by an apostate named João or Heizō. Spinola was asked, “how can the Christian clerics go so far as to pretend and disguise themselves?” Apparently an Englishman was present, and he butted in that such “is the habitual way with these priests.” Spinola sought to explain the difference between denying one’s status as a priest, which as acceptable to the Jesuits, and denying Christ, which was not. He added for good measure that “in England priests did not conceal that they were priests,” and that he himself had been there and proclaimed that he was a Jesuit, “and many other brothers have done so too, which had cost them their lives.”111 If it was no longer possible to trust what was said—if, in Japanese terminology, truth (shin 信) were lost, government could not function, never mind whether or not treason was contemplated. This may have been what Ieyasu meant when he told the Viceroy, as quoted above, that Christianity was “distinct.” Ieyasu said he could not detect in it the quintet of Japanese religious desiderata: benevolence, virtue, rites, knowledge and truth (jin gi rei chi shin 仁義礼智信), that kept the law and the dharma equipoised.112

It was therefore of no relevance if the Jesuits supported the state with words, or even with Masses, since they were authorized to utter things that they did not, in fact, believe in. The tendency of priests to lie was not a generalized defamation offered by Japanese who were opposed to the missions. But actually, it was a specific, and even accurate, contention, leveled by a shogunate that understood more than it is usually given credit for...

Along with the defeat of the “invincible” Armada, timely detection of the Gunpowder Plot was the key to England’s sense of itself as a free Crown and Church, anti-Catholic and specifically anti-Jesuit. It was one of the means by which the English factors projected their country overseas. Richard Kerridge (dates unknown), undertaking similar work to Cocks
at the Mughal court, also encountered a polity infiltrated by Jesuits. He wrote home to the Company in March 1615, that “these Jesuits do so bewitch the king [emperor Jahangîr (1569–1627)] &c with daily presents, as glasses, china dishes, varieties of wine &c that nothing is denied them.…” He went on: “They shame not to say we are a people rebelled subjects
to their king,” meaning, surely, the Jesuits’ king, or pope, or perhaps the King of Spain, who, via his marriage to “bloody” Mary, had claimed the English throne, thereby justifying his Armada.143 Kerridge’s solution: send into India “some court
like pictures…as the King Sitting in Parliament and suchlike.”144 His colleague, William Edwards (dates unknown), stationed inland at Ajmer, sought to make the same point and asked for pictures of “the fight of 88,” while a third factor
in India requested “a picture of our court of Parliament.”145

http://shinku.nichibun.ac.jp/jpub/pdf/jr/JN2401.pdf

member_19686
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 23 Mar 2013 00:38

THE EXTENDED MEANING OF THE RESCRIPT

In the world today, Europe and America are, of course great powers, and all the countries settled by Europeans have prospered as well. Now only the countries of the East are capable of competing with the progress of these nations. Yet India, Egypt, Burma, and Annam have already lost their independence; Siam, Tibet, and Korea are extremely weak and will find it difficult to establish their autonomy. Thus in the Orient today, Japan and China alone have an independence stable enough to vie for rights with the powers. But China clings to the classics and lacks the spirit of progress. Only in Japan does the idea of progress flourish, and Japan has it within its means to anticipate a glorious civilization in the future.

Japan, however, is a small country. Since there are now those that swallow countries with impunity, we must consider the whole world our enemy. Although we should always endeavor to conduct friendly relations with the powers, foreign enemies are watching for any lapse on our part, and then we can rely only on our 40 million fellow countrymen. Thus any true Japanese must have a sense of public duty by which he values his life lightly as dust, advances spiritedly, and is ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of the nation.

But we must encourage this spirit before an emergency occurs. "Making a rope to catch a thief only after he shows up" is obviously foolish. The purpose of the rescript is to strengthen the basis of the nation by cultivating the virtues of filiality and fraternal love, loyalty and sincerity (kotei chushin) and to prepare for any emergency by nurturing the spirit of collective patriotism (kyodo aikoku). If all Japanese establish themselves by these principles, we can be assured of uniting the hearts of the people.

- Inoue Tetsujiro (1855-1944)

Anti-Christian Ideas and National Ideology: Inoue Enryo and Inoue Tetsujiro’s Mobilization of Sectarian History in Meiji Japan

http://sjeas.skku.edu/upload/200905/107 ... ramore.pdf

RoyG
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby RoyG » 25 Mar 2013 05:13

Hinduism and the Ethics of Warfare in South Asia: From Antiquity to the Present
By Kaushik Roy

http://books.google.com/books?id=vRE3n1 ... ya&f=false

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Atri » 25 Mar 2013 15:56

Ramana ji,

Indic Vaishya has much fewer constraints in a way. The whole idea of 15% tax (not more) from Vaishyas and Shudras will bring about blooming of Vaishya to its fullest. In turn, Vaishya and shudra have to sustain Kshatriyas and Brahmanas. The Brahmanas have to give up salaries and live only on grants. The sages and technocrats in west are yet to make this sacrifice. :)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanku » 25 Mar 2013 16:50

Atri wrote:Ramana ji,

Indic Vaishya has much fewer constraints in a way. The whole idea of 15% tax (not more) from Vaishyas and Shudras will bring about blooming of Vaishya to its fullest. In turn, Vaishya and shudra have to sustain Kshatriyas and Brahmanas. The Brahmanas have to give up salaries and live only on grants. The sages and technocrats in west are yet to make this sacrifice. :)


Atri-ji, a nitpick, grants are also in form of "salaries". Many institutions had fixed income.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Atri » 25 Mar 2013 18:55

One more common mistake is, they forget that Varna never existed alone.. It existed along with Ashrama and Purushartha. Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra retired and their varna was withdrawn along with their power. Thereafter, they were limited to advisory role only.


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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby devesh » 21 May 2013 21:59

http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/116/

Augustus is well known for being the first Emperor of Rome, but even more than that, for being a self-proclaimed “Restorer of the Republic.” He believed in ancestral values such as monogamy, chastity, and piety (virtue). Thus, he introduced a number of moral and political reforms in order to improve Roman society and formulate a new Roman government and lifestyle. The basis of each of these reforms was to revive traditional Roman religion in the state.

First, Augustus restored public monuments, especially the Temples of the Gods, as part of his quest for religious revival. He also commissioned the construction of monuments that would further promote and encourage traditional Roman religion. For example, the Ara Pacis Augustae contained symbols and scenes of religious rites and ceremonies, as well as Augustus and his “ideal” Roman family – all meant to inspire Roman pride. After Augustus generated renewed interest in religion, he sought to renew the practice of worship.

In order to do so, Augustus revived the priesthoods and was appointed as pontifex maximus, which made him both the secular head of the Roman Empire and the religious leader. He reintroduced past ceremonies and festivals, including the Lustrum ceremony and the Lupercalia festival. In 17 BC, he also revived the Ludi Secularae (Secular Games), a religious celebration that occurred only once every 110 years, in which sacrifices and theatrical performances were held. Finally, Augustus established the Imperial Cult for worship of the Emperor as a god. The cult spread throughout the entire Empire in only a few decades, and was considered an important part of Roman religion.

Augustus’ goal in restoring public monuments and reviving religion was not simply to renew faith and pride in the Roman Empire. Rather, he hoped that these steps would restore moral standards in Rome. Augustus also enacted social reforms as a way to improve morality. He felt particularly strong about encouraging families to have children and discouraging adultery. As such, he politically and financially rewarded families with three or more children, especially sons. This incentive stemmed from his belief that there were too few legitimate children born from “proper marriages.” On the other hand, he penalized unmarried men older than 38 years old by imposing on them an additional tax that others did not have to pay. They were also debarred from receiving inheritances and attending public games. Furthermore, the Lex Julia de maritandis ordinibus prohibited celibacy and childless marriages, as well as made marriage compulsory.

Augustus also amended divorce laws to make them much stricter. Prior to this, divorce had been fairly free and easy. In addition, after Augustus’ reforms, adultery became a civil crime instead of a personal crime under the Lex Julia de adulteriis coercendis. In other words, it became a crime against the state, which meant that the state (not just the husband) could take an adulterer to court if there was evidence of adultery. Penalties for adultery included banishment, or sometimes the husband or father of the adulterer could kill an adulterous wife. Augustus’ own daughter, Julia, was banished for adultery after this new legislation. She was exiled to a desolate island called Pandateria.

Augustus also felt that people should not interact with or, especially, marry those outside of their own social class. As such, he created laws that reinforced hierarchical seating in the theatre and amphitheatre. For instance, front row seats were reserved for Senators, the next rows for equestrians, then the rest divided up for young men, soldiers, and so on.

In conclusion, Augustus was looked upon as a savior of traditional Roman values. His political, social, and moral reforms helped to bring stability and security, and perhaps most importantly, prosperity to the Roman world which had been previously rocked by internal turmoil and chaos. As a result, Rome’s first Emperor eventually came to be accepted as one of the gods, and he left a unified, peaceful empire that lasted for at least another 200 years before new crises emerged in the third century AD.



if Augustus, who made laws which were such a gross intervention into the private sphere, is considered to be a "enlightened" and master statesman, shouldn't the same yardstick be applied for Indian history too? isn't "Brahminical religion" a great source of "moral values" and stability, then?

more importantly, we should notice here that the need for a "public religion" intimately tied to the imperial needs of the realm was already well recognized by the Roman Elite well before Constantine. the seeds of future madness were already there. the progression of the Roman Imperialism from Augustus' times clearly is a sign that they were on the lookout for any "mass" ideology which could become a pillar of the Imperial State as a tool of control over the masses.

Augustus realized this and his measures lay the groundwork for increasing intrusions later on. the link between religion and state becomes clear when we investigate Augustus' era. Christianity eventually proved itself a better alternative to the Pagan order of Rome, by banking on monotheism. instead of so many gods or sources of divinity, which is a potential drain on public zeal, Christianity innovated and said there was only ONE god.

also, when we follow this line, even the advocates of "christianity is a purely philosophical/spiritual movement of Christ" can start to see that the real intentions of Christ, whatever they were, ultimately did not matter in how Christianity actually developed. by the time of Constantine, the Christian theologians and institutions would have had ample time to observe the Roman Imperium and mold themselves to make them most useful for the Imperial needs. and once a satisfactory level of "molding" was achieved by the Christian leaders, the Roman State jumped the ship of Paganism and into Christianity.

the social evolution of the Roman Order since Augustus, and the parallel evolution and adaptation of Imperial needs by the Christian institutions is an important study that needs to be made. this is a substantial topic in terms of its effect on history, and the amount of material and sources to be studied to understand it.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 05 Jun 2013 04:44

X-post....
Agnimitra wrote:
ramana wrote:So the reason the West appeals is due to its underlaying religious layer and not any liberal underpinnings.

Yes, this is the underlying seduction - the will to power, that subordinates and uses religion and materialism as and when convenient. Many American writers have acknowledged that the excessive focus on Greco-Roman heritage hides the inconvenient truth, and that the West's true heritage comes from a line that goes like this: China --> Chaldea --> Babylonia --> Persia, and only from there on via the smaller Judaic and Greco-Roman effects. Its just that it absorbs from some of these by making them enemies, and from others by believing they are descended from them.



Can we follow up the CCBP path here?


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