The bias of ‘Western standard’ – after all, the whole project of ‘Cultural Anthropology,’ eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries’ Orientalism, let alone the ‘History of Sciences in China,’ an objective presentation of “what China herself thought about her traditions” (Butler, 1927), are all Western disciplines – caused some difficulties for unabashed historians to distinguish between genuine Western thought and classy adaptations of East Asian or Hindu concepts in the West. There are some prominent examples of the latter: Jacques Derrida’s ‘différance,’ Michel Foucault’s ‘archaeology,’ Edmund Husserl’s ‘transcendental phenomenology,’ even Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘existentialism,’ highly original as it is, all have Orientalist themes (Moore, 2003). Some Western protagonists revealed their Asian sources; others did not (Wang, 2001).
Georg Hegel’s ‘philosophy of history,’ ‘Weltgeist’ (‘world-spirit’), and the ‘great man theory,’ all of which took Europe’s intelligentsia by storm, were a blatant extension of Mahayana Buddhist concepts such as ‘Brahmatmaikyam’ (the merging of Brahman and Atman) and the Hindu tradition of ‘Vardhamana Mahavira’ (The Great Hero) or the ‘Tirthankaras’ (Sanskrit for ‘fordmakers’).
In Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (1819), Arthur Schopenhauer wrote (Abelson, 1993), “If I were to take the results of my philosophy as the standard of truth, I would have to consider Buddhism the finest of all religions.”
Friedrich Nietzsche’s concepts of ‘Übermensch’ (lit. ‘over-man’) and ‘Meister- und Sklavenmoral’ (lit. ‘master- and slave-morality’) are heavily influenced by Hindu concepts of ‘vasudeva’ (‘super-human’) and ‘jatis’ (‘hereditary groups or castes’), while he elsewhere confessed, after having read Louis Jacolliot’s 1876 translation of the Manava Dharmasastra, that the Vedic Laws of Manu was, in his opinion, the “epitome of all civic moral order” (Behler, 1987). Moreover, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) and his philosophy of Western ‘beingness and time’ was a direct response to Eastern concepts of ‘non-beingness and non-time’ (May, 1996).
And then there was Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). Like Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Hitler worshipped might, and might was what he dreamt about when his utopian ‘Third Reich’ took shape in Mein Kampf (1925/26). Nazi ideology was deeply influenced by German Orientalism, which flourished from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, and I am not just referring to the metaphysics of some Buddhist ‘Swastika’ as the chosen symbol of Aryan ascendancy and the spiritual conquest of India.
The idea of the ‘Third Reich’ did not, as many Western historians tend to believe, only derive from studying the Holy Roman Empire, or French or British colonial empires in their heydays. Far from it. Neither ancient nor recent, highly diversified European history had a precursor to the things outlined in the Nazi master plan: the Germans’ obsession with Oriental themes and this so-called longing for the ‘exotic other’ – romanticism, nostalgia for greatness, and rise to great power status during the years of the German Empire (Said, 1978; Zizek, 1997). All of this impelled the Germans to search for their identity and cultural legitimacy, e.g. Hellenic philosophical roots, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, the Aryan invasion of India, the age of European Enlightenment, the invention of modern scholarship, the exploitation of Asian thought. They thus created a world history with Germany as its spiritual and cultural center.
The rational, analytical, deductive Germans, consciously or unconsciously indulging in a spiritual mission to make Europe ‘coherent’ and ‘uniform,’ actually wanted to Easternize it. By adopting the inductive Eastern ways, some historians believe German Orientalism had “helped to destroy Western self-satisfaction, and to provoke a momentous change in the culture of the West: the relinquishing of Christianity and classical antiquity as universal norms” (Marchand, 2001).
The Germans wanted to undo Europe’s regional, provincial, fragmentary character, that is, to write an ethnocentric Aryan history. Similarly, in China they wrote the ethnocentric Chinese history that connects simultaneously to the past, present, and future, that worships its great ancestors and their deeds, that gives authority to memory and historians, that sees human action and its consequences as reigning over time, rather than just passing through time in discrete temporal units – days, hours, minutes. To the horror of their Western neighbors, the newly elected Nazis, well-educated in Classics, Philology, and Cultural Anthropology thanks to Humboldt’s university reforms starting in the year 1810, despised the deductive, rational, and all-fabricated ‘intellect,’and at the same time idealized their newly-found intuitive, spiritual, and all-human ‘instinct.’
It comes as no surprise that even today, the average American Joe has great difficulty distinguishing between German-style totalitarianism and Soviet- or Maoist-style totalitarianism, and there is no blaming him for that. As Hannah Arendt convincingly put it: They were two sides of the same coin, not opposing philosophies (Arendt, 1973). Germany wanted to undo the East-West dichotomy and wanted the two great cultural modes to occupy the same space.
And it comes as no surprise either that to this day, the majority of Western scientists, who have never sufficiently studied the East-West dichotomy, ascribe history’s darkest events to mere outer-world, materialistic circumstances like brainless Youth Bulges (Heinsohn, 2003; 2005), Guns, Germs and Steel (Diamond, 2003; 2006), or other material convulsions, while ignoring all the evidence that suggests that the ultimate cause of history’s darkest events was an inner-world, monstrous, deadly human psychology – the communion of Eastern and Western souls:
European “discovery” of India brought the opportunity to appropriate its rich tradition for the sake of the Europeans’ obsession to re-imagine their history and status. Many rival theories emerged, each claiming a new historiography. The new European preoccupation among scholars was to reinvent identities of various European peoples by suitably locating Sanskrit amidst other selective facts of history to create Grand Narratives of European supremacy […] in order to fulfill their own ideological imperatives of reconciling theology with their self-imposed role of world ruler.
(Kapil Kapoor, 2001, here condemning the promoters of Aryan theories such as Max Müller [1823-1900])
What the German Orientalists and politicians prior to the Great Wars discovered – leaning towards Eastern-inflected concepts such as Mackinder’s ‘heartland theory’ (1904), Max Müller’s ‘Aryan supremacy’ (1892), and Nietzsche’s prophetic ‘Übermensch’ (1885) – was that the Western hemisphere needed a domesticated ueber-race of Aryans in order to occupy Eurasia and counter the disciplined, ever-increasing, and expanding powers of the Eastern hemisphere. Germany feared the inductive, rising East, not her western or southern neighbors, among which she was already the dominant intellectual power. Germany was somehow right about the challenges from the East, as the Allies and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization indeed needed another 46 years (!) until the Cold War was won, a Pyrrhic victory, as it turned out: Today the West is helpless and in disbelief in the face of the until now peaceful rise of not one, recovering Russia, but of about a dozen new players: China, India, the nine ‘Tiger States,’ plus the world’s second-largest economic superpower, Japan.
In order to understand ‘history’s darkest events’ caused by an inner-world, monstrous, deadly psychology, the communion of Eastern and Western souls, we have to again address the topic of Right and Tact.
As it turned out, the Germans’ pre-war master plan was hard, and physically impossible, to execute in the real world, but not at all difficult to grasp using our imaginations as serious students of world history today. What the Germans – in reference to what I said before about Right and Tact – did was Right, but without Tact. Now, before you protest against my claim that the Germans were “right,” we should carefully examine the meaning of ‘righteousness’ in this respective European context. The Germans did the right thing, but not in a tactful manner. Order, discipline, submission in the name of unity was Right, so was the unity of Europe led by its most populous, industrious, and powerful people, the Germanic people. Was it not the Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) who suggested to Europeans that every individual must submit to the ‘general will’ and become an ‘indivisible part’ of the whole or the ‘national will’ (Rousseau, 1762)?
Striving for unification, as opposed to separatism, was the ‘right’ thing to do for Germany, the most populous nation of Europe. China was unified; so were the USA and India. But the Germans did not know how to do it; they did know all about Right, but did not know about Tact. They thought that scientific methods and powerful materialism could compensate for a lack of Tact and thus caused unbelievable suffering and pain. The Germans had to brutally bully all Europeans into submission, instead of tactfully leading them into submission. This is an example of the inner-world, monstrous, deadly psychology of communion: the Western analytical-deductive mindset of ‘deconstruction’ combined with Eastern intuitive-inductive theories of ‘oneness.’ This led to the Holocaust, just as the Japanese with their intuitive-inductive mindset, after adopting Western analytical-deductive theories, set out to destroy their neighbors with their newly won, uncontrollable power.
The Japanese were certainly different from the Germans; traditional Japanese culture was familiar with Tact. And, before the dawn of modernity, they knew about Right, too. Before the dawn of modernity, Japan knew that is was not Right for her to rule over the ancient and mighty Chinese, Russians, or Koreans – it wasn’t Right for her to rule supreme over Asia. But when she adopted the Western analytical-deductive mindset, she ignored what was Right and set foot on the Asian continent. When Japan was confronted with the reality of things, that is was not Right for this tiny island to rule over mainland China, she panicked and threw away her Tact, slaying her prisoners of war (cf. the Rape of Nanking) just because this small island was neither physically nor psychologically able to rule (let alone to justify rule) over an ancient culture and hundreds of millions of Chinese, Koreans etc.
Similar to Germany’s misery, this misery of Japan was initiated by the careless communion of the inductive Eastern and deductive Western souls, causing untold suffering and pain. Fortunately, when Russian and Chinese souls adapted to Western-minded Communism in the beginning, they refined it in the last minute, calling it Stalinism and Maoism. Yet look at what misfortune and destruction the communion of Eastern and Western souls still brought upon their own kin!
The German Holocaust, Japanese militarism, Soviet and Chinese Communism – all these carry gruesome warnings about what I meant by saying the ultimate cause of history’s darkest events was an inner-world, monstrous, deadly psychology: the communion of inductive Eastern and deductive Western souls.
The main focus of academic attention in the analytical-deductive West about those darkest events in history seems to rest, how could it be much different, on the ‘methods,’ the ‘what’ and ‘how’ by which the suffering and pain were inflicted, not on the ‘who.’ Who actually committed these deeds? Regarding the ‘methods,’ the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the German concentration camps and the heinous crimes of the Japanese, so much has already been written that I shall only add this observation: Despite the hypocrisy of Western moral educators regarding the unbelievably cruel methods used to annihilate the enemy, all those methods are the least difficult to comprehend for any serious student of history. We are making a fuss about nothing. On the contrary, a basic understanding of ‘how’ to use the cruelest methods available to destroy one’s enemy, in this century, is the minimum requirement for any 14-year-old ‘virtual commander’ who plays a strategic computer game like Warcraft (Blizzard, 2001), where distinctive races fight for honor, resources, and territory. A basic understanding of this ‘how’ is also the only thing required to read about the battle between the races in a bestseller such as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (Shippey, 2002; Garth, 2005) or watch James Cameron’s Hollywood blockbuster Avatar (2009), which basically retells the universal story of how much fun it is for the European civilization to destroy indigenous cultures for material gains, especially when those indigeneous people look so different from us (in the movie, they have blue skin) and put up a good fight. Again, the what we did to them and the how we did it, be it in reality, be it in the books or movies, are quite irrelevant, because they are entertainment and we will always find ways to improve our ways and effectivity. What should really matter not only to psychologists and theologians, but to all scholars in the humanities is the who. Who commits the cruel deeds? And why? If we know about the source, we may find a cure.
Again, coldly analyzing the facts and methods of history’s darkest events, the ‘what’ and ‘how,’ is dehumanizing and requires little intellectual effort. What could we possibly learn from it except doing it better next time? A more accurate understanding of what happened to the people of this world, to those who dominate and those who are being dominated, to all of us in our darkest times, can only be achieved by also looking at the ‘who,’ i.e. by looking into our souls.
Having talked about the presence of Right and the absence of Tact of the Germans prior to the Great Wars, we must not forget to discuss another important component of the German mindset, namely the Will – the Will to make great things happen, the Will to Power.
As said elsewhere, Europe before history’s darkest events was fractured, Balkanized, useless, tactless, and in moral decline. The only sense of unity came from the Church, but the self-interested, materialistic European nation states had left behind this source of spiritual unity in favor of independence, nationalism, and sovereignty. Then and before the Great Wars, who could ever possibly unite all Europeans in order to face the civilizations of the East? The British always knew what was Right; it was not Right for them to set foot on the continent, nor to aspire to rule over Europe. In Europe, they made no great leaders either: The French were few in number, had a sorry history of defeat and failures against the British, and in any case, similar to the Scandinavian countries, could trace back their ancestors to tribes in the Germanic heartland.
The Germans of central Europe in the year 1930 were by far the most populous group in Europe, with over 60 million people within Germany, not counting Austria and the Germanic diasporas all over Europe. The Germans had been the discredited losers of World War I, stripped of all overseas colonies and one third of their former territory. With their enormous sense of righteousness, they naturally felt that their situation was not right, that no gang-up of (in their nationalistic view) mediocre European neighbor-states with their tinsel cultures should keep Europe small:
There is a Chinese saying that all mothers teach their children: Xiao Xin “make your heart small!” That really is the basic tendency of all later civilizations: I do not doubt the ancient Greeks would spot today’s European self-inflicted reduction in size at first sight – this alone would be sufficient to disgust them. (Friedrich Nietzsche,  1909)
Nietzsche had his own vocabulary for the East-West dichotomy. He distinguished between two modes of culture: the (Western) individual – the rational, technical, cognitive, useful, and hierarchical Apollonian; and the (Eastern) collective –emotional, sexual, mystic, fertile, and revolutionary Dionysian (Nietzsche, 1872). Any reader knowledgeable in the history of thought will have noticed that pre-war Germany, in an incredible shift of paradigm later supervised by the Nazi party and its imitators and followers in Europe and beyond, had cultivated upon their soil for the first time ever an inherently Apollonian/Western culture with the acquired mindset of a collective, emotional, sexual, mystic, fertile, revolutionary Dionysian/Eastern soul. This had disastrous consequences for the well-being of Europe and the global community.
It is helpful to remind ourselves that there is a reason why so many of the above mentioned German thinkers were so admired among intellectual circles in the East, most notably in Japan (e.g. the Kyoto School, 京都派), India, but also in China: The intuitive Germans, from Goethe over Hegel, Schelling, Fichte, and Schopenhauer to Nietzsche and Heidegger were all pregnant with Oriental thought.
In sum, Eastern concepts have been borrowed and adapted throughout European history, sometimes for the worse (as in the case of pre-war Germany), but often for the better. However, the main standard throughout history remained Eurocentric. Asian values were communicated, often ridiculed, but never openly acknowledged. Whatever the East offered via its strange languages and spiritual terminology, it did not matter much unless it was translated and sealed for approval by the dominant civilization: the West. Why this Western ‘verbal dominance’ over the course of world history? We will discuss this in the next chapter.
The Psychology of Communion
Pattberg, Thorsten (2013), The East-West Dichotomy, Foreign Language Press, Beijing