Eastern Philosophy vs. Western Realism

Topics: Philosophy, Western philosophy, Buddhism Pages: 2 (626 words) Published: June 28, 2008
Western Reality

Where people are born seems to have tremendous influence upon how they think. After reading both the philosophies of Lao-Tzu and the Buddha, I can say they are very different from what I have learned growing up in the States. It seems that both of these teachings of "eastern" thought have many of the same ideas. Both Lao-Tzu and the Buddha seem to believe that a simple life is more efficient. They suggest that people should provide for themselves only the necessities and not worry about luxury or power and prestige. In their writings, they say that rulers of a society should let people control their own actions and only intervene when absolutely necessary. After living under a capitalist democracy for all of my nineteen years, I must say their philosophies would be difficult to adapt to. Our society rewards hard work and initiative; we are taught to strive for success. Eastern philosophy doesn't seem realistic because it goes against the initiative in human nature. It seems people would have to go against their emotions to follow these eastern teachings.

The first discrepancy I see in eastern philosophy is their thoughts on the roles of a society's leader. It seems that they play the part of a referee in a football game; they only intervene when someone does something wrong. They don't really show their authority unless it is completely necessary. In western thought, a leader is there to set laws and make decisions that will directly affect those under them. Teddy Roosevelt promoted himself as the President who, "Spoke softly but carried a big stick", which is a prime example of the emphasis placed on power in western thought. It seems to me that with all the laws we have, we have a great amount of people who break them. I think if we lived under a system based on eastern philosophy, with less

Evans 2
authority given to those in power, we would see a large increase in crime. I don't think society as...
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