THE SUCCESSES of the Greco-Hellenic and Judeo-Christian traditions of conquering the rest of the world are awe-inspiring and the envy of the world. You may believe in whatever religion you wish but “religion” this word and concept in and by itself IS A WESTERN product. There’s little arguing about it: Even the Hindus, the Muslims, the Confucianists, and the Buddhists are all living in 2015 of our Lord Jesus Christ. Language, you may have guessed so already, is of utmost importance in this battle for domination over the definition of thought.
It is therefore no coincidence that we call the Hindu rishis, the Islamic imams, the Chinese shengren, and the Buddhist bodhisattva just this: (biblical) “saints”. It doesn’t matter how distinguished and original those non-Western archetypes of wisdom truly were (and still are) –their mere existence or mentioning in the Western mainstream pose significant stress and challenge to Western conscience.
Nowhere is this form of Western ‘language imperialism’ more striking than in the rise of the “philosophers”: With their humble beginnings in ancient Greece, they soon collaborated with Christianity, destroyed all competing schools, ridiculed the sophists and sages, and over the next two thousand years became the most dominant ‘school’ in the entire world.
In what social scientists would describe as ‘syndicate’ –a group of individuals who single-mindedly promote their common interest-, the philosophers have set up a gigantic membership scheme. At the top we find exclusively Western thinkers. Asian thinkers are allowed or allocated second class status, also-runs who desperately try to belong, based on their level of submissiveness to the Western cause.
Nowhere is this hierarchy more visible than in the Western concept and institutions of “universities” –now imitate in most Asian people. The original universities were manifestations of Western “religion” and Western “philosophy”. All of the oldest universities in the world such as Oxford, Bologna, and Heidelberg were created or sponsored by religious orders and promoted the continuation of philosophy as transmitted by the early Greeks.
That’s why Latin and Greek terminologies are prevailing in academia through this day. The Western ownership of all names, brands, and taxonomies in almost all disciplines is so perverse that most philosophers –from Leibniz to Kant, from Hegel to Fukuyama- had concluded at some point during their careers that there was really only one ‘Civilization’ – the West. Hence the notion of the ‘End of History’.
You can see this bias reflected in higher education, where in fact the highest degree universities are able to offer is the PhD or “doctor of philosophy”. And because the East modeled itself after the West, that’s why the Japanese, the Hong Kong or Taiwan Chinese, the Koreans, the Germans, and the Hindus, etc. are all awarded PhD degrees even if what they had studied had nothing to do with it.
What did those proud traditions had before the Europeans removed them from world history? The Western public doesn’t know, and will never be informed. That’s largely because everyone in the membership scheme profit immensely from Western hegemony. For the Asians in particular being associated with the master culture is the highest honor and considered a social upgrade. It also means that they want the Western tradition to succeed and excel, and their own traditions to stifle and suffocate.
So stays in power this authoritative school of the philosophers, taking over the remaining foreign categories. Plato once said the “philosopher kings” should rule the world. Karl Popper famously called the early philosophers fascists. Soon we may be looking at their dictatorship.
Paraphrased from the book ‘Shengren: Above Philosophy and Beyond Religion’ (2011) – by T Pattberg.
Note: ‘Philosophy is a syndicate’ was posted at Big Think in New York in 2014 (see picture above). In April 2015, another article entitled ‘Orwellian Rules of Writing at The New York Times‘ dealing with the same problem albeit from a different angle (US media) got censored. The censored article accused America’s leading newspaper(s) and scholars of systematically disowning foreign cultures from their own brands, names, and inventions (“Avoid foreign words. Write in English!”). The said article was deleted without warning or notice, the account ‘Dragons and Pandas’ discontinued, the author banned, and the profile removed -all within a day. The reason given: they content editor Jason Gots didn’t like it and couldn’t contact the author (a claim so dishonest it is beyond belief).
Luckily, similar articles on institutionalized Western language imperialism were published all over East-Asia, see The Japan Times, The Straits Times, Taipei Times, China Daily, Shanghai Daily, and dozens more here. How many different ways does one need to tell the same story so that Western people are listening: Chinese (and other foreign) key terminologies a systematically banned in the West. Censorship is bad.