The west has much to learn from asia by claude lévi strauss. Un article de claude lévi strauss, transcrit en anglais. rare.
If there is one notion that a European seeking to understand the problem of south Asia must bear in mind, it is that of the ?exotic?. Contrary to what so many suggestions in literature and travellers' experiences may imply, the civilizations of the East are in essence, no different from those of the West.
[...] If there is one notion that a European seeking to understand the problem of south Asia must bear in mind, it is that of the “exotic”. Contrary to what so many suggestions in literature and travellers' experiences may imply, the civilizations of the East are in essence, no different from those of the West. Let us take a look at the bare remains that the passage of the centuries, sand, floods, saltpetre, rot and the Aryan invasion have left of the oldest culture of the East. the sites in the Indus valley, Mohenjodajo, Harappa to 5,000 years old. [...]
[...] It is to the birth and development of urban life that Europe has come to attach its highest material and spiritual values? But the incredibly rapid rate of urban development in the East (e.g. in Calcutta, where the population has increased from 2 to 5 million in the space of a few years), has merely had the effect of a concentrating, in the poverty-stricken areas, such misery and tragedy as have never made their appearance in Europe except as a counterpart to advances in other directions. [...]
[...] This rediscovery of man's body, in which Asia could be a guide to humanity, would also be a rediscovery of his mind, since it would (as in Yoga and other similar systems) bring to light a network of actions and symbols, mental experiments and physical process which unless they were known, would probably prevent the psychological and philosophical thought of the East from being, for the West, anything more than a series of empty formulae. Peaceful co-existence This keen feeling, found in Asia, of the interdependence of aspects of life which elsewhere one tried to isolate and close off from each other, of the compatibility of values sometimes considered to be incompatible, is also found in the sphere of political and social thought. [...]
[...] And this with less riches and more population, lacking the necessary capital and technicians for its industrialization, and seeing it soil and its livestock deteriorating daily while its population increases at an unprecedented rate, is constantly inclined to remind Europe of the two continents' common origin and of their unequal situation in regard of their exploitation of a common heritage. Europe must reconcile herself to the fact that Asia has the same material and moral claims upon her that Europe often asserts she herself has upon the United States. If Europe considers she has rights vis-à-vis the New World whose civilization comes from hers, she should never forget that those rights can only be based on historical and moral foundations which create fro her, in return very heavy duties towards a world from which she herself was born. [...]
[...] But in the case of these universal after-effects of nationalist poison, is it not the West that bears the primary responsibility? The only attempts South Asia made in the way of political unification -before Europe compelled it to think in European terms- developed in quite a different atmosphere. From the time of Asoka- of whom the director general of UNESCO, in his speech to the Indian National Commission, said that he “attained to the concept of a universal committee seeking the good of all created things”- to that of Ghandi, the ideal always sought was that of peaceful brotherhood. [...]
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