Other cultural clashes have destroyed cultures. The Native American world collapsed as it faced the European; numerous other examples exist. A similar fate could befall either East or West as they face each other, this time not at the pace of a Marco Polo or Commodore Perry, but as they flash across the separating oceans and deserts via electronics and modern transport.
Strangely enough, some of the same conflicts of culture which emerged on the North American continent four centuries ago exist currently. Simplified, this tension is between a Western system which stresses individuality (point of view) and an Eastern system which stresses communality (harmony). Generally, each culture so far has been successful in adapting to its environment. The concept presented here is that each culture will become even better adapted by incorporating parts of the other. Furthermore, the recognition itself that adapting will make the culture more fit in Darwinian terms will drive the cultures to adapt.
To provide a starting point from which to comprehend the dimensions of the clash, unravel the development of Western culture to its last great formative era, the Renaissance. Even other important eras, such as the Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, wars which adjusted boundaries and attitudes-- these and other great events since the Renaissance have been expressions of a worldview set at that time. To focus such a vast topic, Art will serve as the lens.
In the first whispers of the Renaissance, Giotto's paintings began to celebrate the individual. Medieval and Byzantine art just prior to his era did not portray a materially "real" world, revealing instead unshaded and non-proportional figures with flattened backgrounds which often consisted of nothing but gold leaf. These great wall paintings and mosaics resemble the Russian icons we are familiar with today. An underlying concept behind these "unreal," flattened portrayals was: individual and physical existences are not important. The Renaissance reversed that concept; people and things in paintings began to take on a corporeality, a discreteness, a singularity. Figures looked more lifelike, became individuals of import. The figures were placed in backgrounds definitely of this world. These attempts at shading, proper proportion, and perspective, culminating in the High Renaissance, affirmed two pillars of Western culture: focus on the individual, and, as a corollary, the concept of point of view.
How these pillars form our Western worldview, and how that view contrasts with the Eastern may be shown in the following anecdote. When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay climbed Mount Everest for the first time, a Japanese saw the newspaper headline "HILLARY CONQUERS EVEREST!" He responded: "I don't understand. He didn't 'conquer' Everest, he befriended it."
The Occidental understanding of the climbing of Everest implies the importance of the individual, and that there is a point of view ("as I see it" or "from where I'm standing"). Our traditions, from the Bible's "subdue and dominate the Earth," through the Greeks' atomism, on through the Renaissance, and continuing with revolutions political, industrial, and technological-- all have reinforced our mindset of individualism. The Oriental understanding, however, implies that the individual is but part of a universe; he comes to know (befriend) this universe and to know his relationship to it (part of, rather than outside of). Eastern traditions, revealed in Tao, Confucianism, the Bhagavad-Gita, and Buddhism have reinforced the mindset of submersion of the individual.
Art provides clear examples of the contrast between the two perspectives. In the West, the High Renaissance (circa 1490 to 1517) pivots around Leonardo daVinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti. Their artworks are paradigms of Western culture. DaVinci's paintings reveal individuals in power and mystery, standing clearly away from the background. Both individuals and background are accurate studies, not only spiritual in aura, but also scientific in delineation. Separation from, definition of, and mastery over the surrounding environment are suggested. Michelangelo also reveals the individualism of the West. He exaggerates the proportions of his figures; some are ten or eleven heads high while the average human proportion is seven or eight heads high. Thus, even when grouped on the Sistine ceiling, there is a monumentality, a definite statement of "I am, and I am unique among all these." Chinese or Japanese art on the other hand, often reveals the other view, that the person is but a part of things. In Fan K'uan's Travelers Among Mountains and Streams humans are but small strokes in a vast and misty landscape, part of the beauty, but not dominating it. Or, as in Hosukai's The Great Wave, humanity is represented by small men on small boats in a mighty ocean-- once again certainly not dominating, but rather a part of nature.
Of course one cannot argue from these few particulars to sweeping generalizations. The artworks noted are not meant to prove the point, but only to serve as lenses which bring the differing worldviews into sharper focus.
Having focused the differing perspectives through art, from here on it will be taken as a postulate that the Western worldview has emphasized the individual and the separate, while the East has emphasized the communal and the whole. Since it is unlikely in today's highly connected world that either view can remain pure and unchanged, the question is: "What's going to happen to us? Will the cultures evolve and be enriched, or will one or both collapse from the strain of interacting with each other?"
A determining factor in the fates of cultures as they meet others is their preparedness for change. Having rough parity technologically, neither East nor West is likely to be subsumed by the other. Two possibilities remain: protracted struggle or meshing. Are these two cultures, then, prepared for change?
Although impossible to determine with certainty, early indications are positive. Japan seems further along in being not only prepared to, but actually accepting certain aspects of Western culture: technology, economics, politics, and even some art. Whether these will remain a part of Japan is uncertain, and how deeply these aspects of Western individuality will affect the mindset of the Japanese cannot be known. Other countries in the East are in varying stages of accepting Occidental ways. Obviously some state of preparedness to mesh with another culture must exist in the East. How this preparedness will finally emerge from its conflict with xenophobia and cultural pride can only be guessed. Since it is in the best interests of any entity's survival to adapt rather than fight, the logical assumption is that meshing will win out over isolation and resistance.
The East's acceptance (to at least a superficial degree) of outside phenomena is not surprising in a culture trained in a certain humility and acceptance of that which is outside the self. Is the West-- where the ideal is absolute independence of the individual and where the self is trained to "subdue and dominate" outside phenomena-- prepared to accept Eastern concepts? Some would say not very well. To accept another culture our arrogance and individualism will need to be moderated by other of our traits: love of freedom and willingness to change. Still, there are positive signs, once again visible in Art, that there is some preparedness for acceptance. Marshall McLuhan asserted that artists are the "antennae of the race," first picking up the changes which will later on affect the rest of society. He makes the case very well in The Medium is the Message . Therefore, if art reveals an acceptance of Eastern values, there is more than just baseless hope that Western culture is capable of meshing with others.
These artistic signs of preparedness began emerging in the late 1950's and early '60's. That was when the Renaissance started to end. More specifically, the Renaissance idea of celebrating individualism began to be reversed. By the 1500's, the self stood out, literally and figuratively. This heightened awareness of the self can be traced down through the centuries to recent times. The expressiveness of the individual artist became more and more important until finally the Romantic Movement generated the idea of the unique vision of the artist. The uniqueness of the individual reached its apogee in the art after WWII. What more individualistic, unique vision can there be than the Abstract Expressionist revelations of the most private, unconscious aspects of the self? Thus, the art of the 1940's and 50's had pushed the Western concept of individualism as far as it could go. McLuhan's establishment of artists as predictors of our society's direction leads to a startling conclusion: The Renaissance ended in the 1950's.
What has replaced this worldview for the West? Nothing. Perhaps that is why there is so much "nouveau"-this and "retro"-that. Having run out of cultural focus, the mainstream looks back to better times and old solutions. Some way out has been shown, however. The art of the 1960's reveals a denial of individualistic expression. This denial exists on the level of the works themselves, not so much on the level of the artists, who often became celebrities.
The artists' works of the 1960's were like Giotto's, crude but revolutionary, or, more exactly, radical. Cutting to the very roots of the society's current beliefs, they denied the worth of self expression, elitism, uniqueness. They celebrated instead the common and unremarkable. Thus Pop Art "revealed" the elements of everyday existence we all shared. Minimal Art cut off all individualistic "expression" and reduced art to simple shapes which gave the same common experience to all viewers ("this is a four-foot black cube," instead of "this represents the reality of the artist"). Op Art questioned the reality of our individual perceptions. Conceptual art de-materialized art. Performance Art stressed common sharing of experience rather than an artist's projection of his own view.
These attacks on and denials of the usual Western emphasis on unique individualism have opened a channel in our consciousness for development of a new view. By erasing emphasis on SELF expression in the artworks themselves, the artists of this period shrank individualism in some ways. Not everything in this period's art helped to prepare for a cultural meshing with the East. Cynicism, celebration of celebrity, and lack of harmony were among the disquieting aspects of this art. Good parts of the Western tradition were wiped out or over-emphasized. Cynicism took to an empty extreme the healthy skepticism of Montaigne and, later, science. Beauty and Truth, long the inseparable foundation for art, were no longer considered essential elements in the visual language. This separation further widened the gap between viewer and artist. Finally, the awareness of self formerly essential in this culture, now became downgraded to self-celebration and "making it." However, the important point remains: the personal expression of an individualized worldview through the artwork itself ceased. Denial of such a point of view is the beginning of a bridge to Eastern culture. Potentially at least, a melding of cultures has been enabled.
One other area, science, heralds a potential opening for the West. Like the benzene-ring snake swallowing its tail, this area has come full circle. This is especially ironic since science was one of the major processes/products of our culture's individualism. Science is a logical product of a society which likes to separate and isolate. Breaking down the world into smaller and smaller parts in order to analyze it (the scientific process) is a perfect example of an isolating individualism. Wonderful as this process of science is, it can become exaggerated. Jacques Ellul called this overworked over-specialization "technique," and skewered its constriction of the human spirit. Yet ironically, one of the positive aspects of science is the relatively new understanding of how things fit together. This idea of linkages resembles the Eastern view of the universe (nature) as one. Some examples: from space we now see the earth as a whole; understanding the process of continental drift has brought together geologists, biologists, physicists, and others; we still search for a Grand Unified Theory of energy and matter, revealing scientists' firm belief in communality rather than separateness. Not only Art, but Science also, through its discovery of the non-individualistic character of phenomena, has prepared us to expand beyond the individualistic aspects of our culture.
Having seen that the pre-condition for a cultural mixing exists, questions remain: is such a mixing likely, and what forms might it take?
Nothing is inevitable of course, and serious problems for a cultural blending are ahead. One is xenophobia. Both cultures possess it, and its cousin racism, to a degree. If the West, theoretically the more open in this area, still has great problems with race, imagine how difficult it will be for the East. And yet, the seemingly deep-felt need to reject full acceptance of the outsider does not include rejection of the outsiders' ideas/culture. Witness Jazz in the West and the assembly line in the East. So, if an IDEA from another culture is useful or needed, it most likely will be accepted. Although not a carbon copy of the original, the interpreted idea will most likely carry along at least some of the original's corollaries. Democracy, as it struggles with various forms, is an example. Therefore, it is likely that the xenophobic urge will not be as strong as the urge to survive and function well in the modern world-- even the most suspicious culture will likely accept and modify aspects of another for its own use.
The acceptance of aspects of another culture does not mean that is not possible to accept techniques without accepting underlying cultural values. However, most ways of acting affect ways of thinking; while not definitely changing basic values, actions most likely will change them. Nor does an acceptance mean that setbacks and slowdowns will not occur. As the different becomes too threatening, both cultures will periodically enter "the good old days" mentality. If these occasional episodes are not accompanied politically by a freezing fascism, they must pass because it is functional for them to pass. The likelihood of an East/West cultural blending, while not inevitable, is nearly inevitable.
What forms might this mixing take? Venturing into the realm of the concrete is like trying to take a photograph of tomorrow's news. A bit closer to the possible is visualizing social attitudes. Where competing attitudes are similar this is easy. Both cultures, for example, have love of family as part of their traditions. Like resonating waves, these similar attitudes will reinforce and strengthen each other. Where cultural attitudes differ, the challenge of perceiving the eventual resolution is more difficult. It is these attitudes which define a culture. Laws and political structure do not come first, but are built upon cultural attitudes. Interesting to study, and falling within the realm of predictability, are: Work, Leisure, Sex, Religion, and Art.
Work takes up much of a society's time, and thus reveals much about its cultural values. Viewing the "ideal" as publicly presented, i.e., as the media reveals it, and picking the United States and Japan as representative, one might say the basic attitudes toward work reveal two salient characteristics: isolation from the rest of life and intensity. Whether the image on the screen shows that "This Bud's for all you do," or reveals the long, hard hours of the Japanese manager, the impression is one of being intensely driven.
This workaholic attitude is strange, not so much for the West as for the East. With our history of "idleness is the devil's workshop," our tradition of "subdue and dominate the earth," that we are predominantly active and specializing rather than contemplative and unifying is not surprising. That the East, with its tradition of humility and quietude, has managed to bring the hustle of New York to Tokyo is a strange development. Questions arise whether this might be just a veneer, a logical growth from the oriental cultural root of honor, a decadent perversion, or some other thing. Whatever the causes, the Japanese work long, hard, and without apparent relation to the rest of their lives.
Whatever the reasons for this attitude, currently so similar in both cultures, it will likely change. It will change because, first, such an attitude conflicts with other important beliefs in each culture; second, the influence of one culture upon the other will likely act as a feedback loop, accelerating change in the other.
In the West, the downside of our current belief in frenetic activity is mainly that it produces only some product-- the yuppie goal is not exactly spiritual. This current attitude, an exaggeration of one aspect of our worldview, conflicts with another aspect of our tradition. A real part of our heritage has been belief in the non-material; this belief has at times been so intense that we have killed others, not because those others directly threatened the well-being of our community, but because they had a different belief. Yet, this spiritual counterweight has not been enough to slow down the frenetic pace. Calvinists are but one example of people who believed in the spiritual but worked their fingers to the bone. If, however, we see the spiritual in broader scope, incorporating the Eastern concept, we may work less frenetically. The East allows "spiritual" to mean a state of being, of contemplating, contrasting with the Western view that, generally, "spiritual" means worship and/or moral acts. The Samurai not only acted, they contemplated beauty, and even wrote poetry. Internalizing the broadly spiritual, we might begin to work and play less actively and inattentively, but rather more reflectively. We might discover our own ability to write poetry. We might even insist upon it.
The East already has a tradition of less activity and harmony with nature. Should they rediscover this spiritual aspect, it might quickly feedback into the work loop, currently so focused on economic production. They could see its effectiveness (better mental health, less crime) compared to the Western model now imitated in large cities. They could achieve harmony in work before we do.
One side benefit of less frantic effort at work would be that less would be produced. At first, this may seem to be a problem, but it would actually be a good. It would help lower the unemployment rate. It might also lower health costs as demands upon workers became less stress-inducing. The loss of some standard of living among the middle and upper classes can hardly be considered a disaster in a country with so high a standard already. An attitude change toward the more peaceful and humble will actually be more productive in a broad, humanistic sense.
Work in a culturally blended society would be part of a larger context, more in harmony with all human needs rather than being separate and only materially useful.
Leisure is often seen as the antipode of work, "...works hard and plays hard," for example. This view is an unfortunate result of a compartmentalization complex. In his book Leisure, The Basis of Culture , Josef Pieper reveals that a sense of wonder is what underlies true leisure. Leisure is not just a quantity of time set aside, but also a quality of mind. This wonder is childlike, but not childish. Wondering at reflections in a lake or the marvelous way a director has made a movie is different from screaming down a roller coaster hill or escaping into an adventure movie. A sense of awe permits one to see phenomena freshly. Both cultures have their areas of closed-mindedness; both cultures have their areas of openness to new observations. We can hope for a blending of the observational strengths in each society because, just as physical evolution exerts pressure to change for more effective living, there is a great mental attractor for more effective patterns in societal evolution. With our power and technologies, it will be extremely effective to wonder and reflect rather than just act. The environment, population, and political freedom are some of the areas where a sense of leisurely contemplation should precede precipitous, narrowly-focused actions.
The East traditionally has had a certain kind of respect for its surroundings; nature was to be contemplated and respected. The West has traditionally had a certain kind of fearlessness in looking at, or more exactly taking apart, nature. These complementary views of observing the phenomena of surroundings can merge, are not necessarily inimical. It is not impossible to conjure a situation where they blend into a new mindset, leaving behind their less attractive aspects of narrow-mindedness in the East and materialistic Positivism in the West. In such a situation people would sincerely contemplate (East) everything (West). Whether molecules, customs, or morals-- all could be wondered at rather than fitted into preexisting mental categories. Being more open and respectful is certainly more functional in the contemporary world. It is also a basis for true leisure, as the nerve-racking need to acquire moderates to a calmer understanding of the worth of things (including a real role of acquisition.)
What forms such a truly leisurely culture might take is an indecipherable question. We might see the rise of discourse among people, even the re-emergence of philosophy. In a world where there would be ascending levels of first, information, then understanding (the quality of mind discussed above), and finally wisdom, philosophy could provide the tools to climb the hierarchy. Neither science, art, nor religion seems able to provide a complete overview of life; nor for that matter has contemporary, fragmented, narrowly-focused philosophy. Yet, once the current preoccupations of society and proclivities of philosophy are left behind, a large vista opens. In such a more open and leisurely world, discrimination reverts to its original, more positive connotation. We would see phenomena-- our entire environment-- not from a narrow viewpoint, but from an understanding of the interconnected yet varying worths of its many parts. Within the framework of true leisure, a person would be able to discover the true worth of, and be able to properly enjoy, all aspects of his environment; he could truly discriminate.
If leisure could become better, what about sex? So rooted in our primal brain, so overlaid with rationalization, demonizing, sacralization, this topic is beyond circumscription in books; so much the more in essays. What may happen is a less demagogic approach, less dictates by and reactions to "isms" such as sexism, feminism, Catholicism, etc. Any "isms" are by definition narrow, while the future is moving towards openness and contemplation.
While clearly an imperative to life, every civilization's need to control sex has given rise to taboos, religious commandments, and societal mindsets. It has roughly worked so far; in fact we have succeeded too well, according to some, in the basic: reproduction. Where civilizations have traditionally controlled sexual mores, however, no culture is currently having an easy time. In the West for example, technology and the drive for freedom have confounded people, although the bold rebound from Puritanism is noted world wide. The experiment with extreme individualism and self-gratification seems to have peaked; breaking the "rules" was fun, but the eventual payments have matured many. New societal mores have not arisen to replace the shattered old ones, nor have the "old ones" really expired. As a culture, we are confounded.
What we may do, then, is to merge the two cultures in the general mode already described, that is, to contemplate (rather than react to) all aspects (rather than those allowed by our particular "ism"). Certainly sex is primitive and fundamentally incomprehensible. Certainly also consciousness is an essential part of our situation. With a humble understanding of our true natures, we may be able to emerge somewhere between living a life of carnival or of the Shakers. Even allowing for the tremendous range of human difference, understanding could place us in harmony with our natures and the world. Sex would at once be more honest yet less blatantly exaggerated. The Hindu view may help here: instead of seeing ourselves doing sex, we would find ourselves in sex. As in yoga, comparing yourself to something or someone outside the self is not the point. The joy emerges from doing something that is action in harmony with the actions of the universe. To reach bliss in rightness is the quest, not to reach an external point determined by an institution or "ism." Although this seems somewhat mystical, the ideal cultural merging would lead to openness and less isolating individualism.
In some ways, religion shares problems with sex: the contrast of external "product" and internal "rightness." The emerging solution is also shared: open (non-prejudiced) observation of all aspects of phenomena, leading to a larger synthesis than now exists. As with everything else discussed so far, any mergings or supersedings may well take centuries, yet changes will fill in the weaknesses and vacuums in every religion. Generally, Western religions tend to downplay the contemplative, to stress adherence to codes and beliefs. Eastern religions tend to stress inner harmony and downplay redemptive action.
Simple examples may reveal what is meant by moving from narrow institutional prescriptions to wider realizations belonging to a larger universe. The Western religions' urge to dominate led to Crusades, exploration, and even science. Christian and Muslim modes are prescriptive and other worldly. Buddhist and Tao modes are more accepting and this worldly. It needs to be mentioned again that there are numerous exceptions, yet the overall thrust of the Western religions is different from Eastern religions. Their gaps, or vacuums are also different. In a technological world, occidental concerns are dysfunctional, and so have taken on less and less meaning. A sense of belonging to this world is necessary, and already underway. The Social Gospel, Vatican II, the Ecumenical and Green movements among others have "softened" the dogmatic concern for measuring the self against proscriptions. Yet, the exaggerated "humility" of oriental religions, of looking inward and merely being a part of the way things are is just as out of place, for new strains of rice are needed, individual rights are valid.
The question is whether current religions will be replaced, as was Zoroastrianism, modified, as was Buddhism, or somehow merged (Tao-Presbyterianism?). In any case, there are clearly many mutually exclusive aspects to the world religions. Will we be able to agree, in a Buddhist kind of way, that Nietzsche was somewhat correct in suggesting the demise of the Supreme Being as the revealer of Truth? On the other hand, Existentialism and Marxism have shown the short-sightedness of belief in materialistic man alone. What is left if neither an Omniscient God on one hand or man alone on the other suffices to give meaning?
One irony is that Western science itself suggests a role, if not for traditional religion, then for something Other, an underlying Order. What comes to mind is the TV image of an atomic physicist, standing in front of the Stanford Linear Accelerator, relating that his research leads to the conclusion that "Thought with a capital 'T'" is the ultimate explanation of physical phenomena. Earlier, in the 1960's Bishop A.T. Robinson wrote that God is the "ground of our being." Thus, the West may be prepared to comprehend, not a God who only waters crops upon supplication and requires worship rituals, but a Ground or Nature that is a basis for existence. Matter and anti-matter may suggest a deeper understanding, even of the Yin-Yang of the Orient. We have begun to accumulate enough scientific information about phenomena to make some generalized guesses about how we should see the Thought, Ground, Harmony presented there. Our "hard" science begins to suggest a way of deepening and broadening religion.
On the other hand, the East, basically correct in seeking complaisance with nature, can rise above submission to yearly floods, pestilence, and other understandings of nature, to the greater heights provided by the human race's broader understanding of matter and energy. Its religions, too, can be broadened through Western knowledge and understanding.
Science is not our only knowledge. More is yet to be gained as we reach for a greater understanding of our own human physiology, emotions, and mind. These understandings cannot be that deviant from our understandings of atoms, just as we are finding out that atoms are not that deviant from galaxies. A sense of Harmony with the ordering Ground/Thought of existence might even replace religion. In these areas, as in science, we will find not the chaos of individualism, but Order. This sense of Harmony would certainly blend traits from both cultures: Western positivist search into physical knowledge and Eastern acceptance of oneness with nature.
In the Arts of the West, also, one sees a new caravan forming. The journey is away from the cold willfulness of Modernism. We've tried, but even though the euphoria of the initial freedom and challenge of existential materialism was real and in a sense beautiful, the aridity of the situation has become evident. In music, Minimalism has left atonality, aleatory chance, and noise behind. Currently Music seems ahead of the other arts, having risen above the myth of the avant-garde and the curse of post- modernist whims. Glass, Reich, Adams and Part are getting recognition for their use of form to communicate a depth of meaning, a vision that can be shared with an audience. As a visual artist I am saddened because some of us are also producing at this level, but our critics, dealers, and collectors are still wrestling with "isms" and individuality. Yet in some ways the visual arts are admitting the possibility of communal meaning and the worth of Beauty. Some critics and collectors are exposing works which reveal an underlying Order and meaning, a "spiritual" sense. Actually, plays, dance-- all the arts have elements showing a concern for more universal meaning (instead of a personal, willful investigation by the artist) and an esthetic harmony or unity (rather than a jeremiad). In the arts also, the release of the self into the service of the larger whole is starting. As East and West merge, the Eastern sense of everything belonging to a whole will be vivified by the Western awareness of phenomena beyond visible nature. It is not unlikely that we can expect an art which uplifts by affirmation of a new era, such as happened in classical Greece or the High Renaissance. In this our new Renaissance, sprung to life by integrating exposures to other cultures, we will know joy and optimism at new and harmonious discoveries.
In the arts, in religion, in sex, in leisure, and in work, there are myriad indicators that cultural blending is possible, if not actually underway.
Yet, things may not go smoothly-- in the arts or with the cultures as a whole. In the arts, for example, the global question is not settled by any means. The entire July 1989 issue of Art in America was devoted to that problem. For instance, will the various arts be respected, understood, and assimilated by the various nationalities, or will they be superficially used for marketing? Also, in the arts as well in larger cultural issues, nationality is still a stumbling block. We as a world may not be as nationalistic as we were in the colonial days, but nationalism is still strong enough to override the information revolution, as with England and Northern Ireland.
On the other hand, the human race has demonstrated by its very spread that it is not a foolish life form. Our wisdom has managed to overcome the many stupid things we have done. It is not so unlikely then that adaptability will win out over narrower interests, and we are more likely to survive-- to use the wisdom of our race, to adapt to the challenges-- by changing. This cultural mutation will blend the best parts of all cultures (not just East/West by the way). So although accurate predictions of cultural movements are as possible as accurate predictions of next month's weather, general predictions are somewhat more possible.
Our clashing cultures will not destroy each other, nor will one subsume the other. The very concept of clash may already have become outmoded. We must adapt; so we will. Common sense is rarely outflanked in the long run. Common sense urges us to use the best of each other's culture to balance the weakness in our own, so we can be functional in a changing world. Without making specific predictions in specific time lines, the general directions discussed throughout seem likely. Cancer is but individualism gone to the extreme; Western individualism needs balancing. Some sense of "humility" or belonging to a larger Order would be a functional borrowing from the East, especially since we can tap elements within our tradition to do it. Eastern closed-mindedness to outside ideas needs balancing. The West's sense of fearless exploration will be a good borrowing, enabling a fuller response to the total environment.
In the main then, the cultural strengths pointed out above reveal potential balances for both cultures. Each has traits, currently recessive, which can be reinforced by the other. There is certainly Yang to the East's Yin; and harmony with the spiritual is not alien to the West. It is in the best interests of each that some antithetical traits grow. Based on the active harmony of Order, a cultural merging is the new world renaissance.
©1994 Robert Stanley