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Word Count: 670
The Philosophers of the East In this chapter the book does an excellent job in touching upon the bases of many ideologies and theories behind the religions and beliefs of people in the Eastern hemisphere This chapter outlines these traditions in a clear objective manner that is non-threatening to the defensive might makes right mind of the average westerner The chapter starts out very loosely defining the basic differences in the philosophy of western and eastern attitudes In general they state that westerners are more focused on their individuality and egocentric world of being manifesting itself in materialism and the ruthless pursuit of wealth and success The career is everything and what one owns is the sum of oneself as our antique dining room table now appraised at fifty grand somehow represents the aptitude of our soul Maybe Im skeptical maybe Im sick of American hypocrisy or maybe I was a whirling dervish living out the theme of asceticism in a past life However unlike the easterners who focus on the subordination of individualism to a greater force I believe we can have our cake and eat it too meaning appreciating our uniqueness and focusing on a force greater than ourselves alone The eastern religions also all have in common the fact that they are not theistic religions meaning they do not personify God as a Caucasian man robed in Greek togas with a beard like Santa Claus and a face to match They dont try to define God yet they try to extract universal truths such as the intrinsic presence of balance and harmony I dont believe it is as much about the devaluing the individual as much as it is about taking our eyes off the ground and looking at the world around us and accepting it instead of fighting it There are even some Christian similarities such as in the Serenity prayer to accept the things we cannot change
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