When Men Began To Think: Revisiting the Ancient Asian Thinking

Essay by segref September 2006

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I got an e-mail from a friend. It's an invite to attend the Alternative University where the topic for that specific date is "When Men Began to Think" which says about how Socrates, Plato and Aristotle shaped the world. I felt a sudden panic inside me. Being a philosophy enthusiast, I just can not nod to its title completely.

While the eastern thinkers were already focused to a more profound distinction between Monism and Dualistic Theism (that is between full-fledged Monistic mysticism in which God or Godhead is understood as non-different from the Self; e.g. Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism), and dualistic mysticism and exoteric religionism in which God is seen - as in the monotheistic religions of the West and Middle East - as eternally separate from the self and matter. The western philosophy on the other hand was concerned on the philosophical and metaphysical distinction between dualism and materialism during the advent of Pythagoreanism and Platonism representing the dualist position, Atomism and Epicureanism the Materialistic, and Aristotleanism and Stoicism as a sort of holistic or quasi-holistic "third way" between the two.

Simply put, the Greeks theorized that the universe originated from water, fire, etc., while the Asians were already discussing about the "being" in relation to its universe.

I am sorry. I will never refute the fact that Socrates made the biggest impact on the Western Philosophy and yes, sometimes philosophy is attributed to him only on the context that many educators in the field of philosophy are Western. The fact that teaching philosophy and the way we learn it from school are based on western prejudice and orientation of philosophical thinking.

Guess what, if you will trace the origin of Western philosophy, it would actually take us to Asia Minor. Whether its roots lie in India or the...