Essay on Occidentalism

Written by a distinguished observer of Asia and a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem the book constitutes a kind of research into two different cultures: Western and Eastern. Based on the investigation of two different types of ideologies, the book eventually constitutes a kind of ground research of the major reasons that finally lead to confrontation and a bloody rivalry between people sharing different opinion about what the world actually is.

Help With Essay On Occidentalism
Help With Essay On Occidentalism

Hence, it is no wonder that the main thesis of the book becomes the issue of Occidentalism. Being a kind of universal theory of anti-liberalism, the theory of Occidentalism deals with the distinctive differences present between two different outlooks. In the case with Islamic we have a vivid example of wrong perception of Western culture as the embodiment of Evil design of the world and as a virulent enemy of God and religion. That very wrong perception of the world as it is leads to conflicts that risk to grow into a war. However, it is not a confrontation issue that becomes the main focus of the book. In fact the book does even more, it explore the habits of mind and conscious of both East and West what places the book among the progressive ones of the modern times.
The research into the causes of Occidentalism is very important since it can give a clue to the events happening in the modern world. Being associated with the feeling of hatred to the Eastern civilization Occidentalism gives way to Western culture negative evaluation from the side of the East. In this paper I am going to explore the reasons for such kind of negative contemplations both from religious, cultural and moral perspectives. What I propose in this paper is not only a grounded research but the attempt to understand and perceive history rather than present facts.

In the majority of cases the book is being referred to as “a good starting point” since it has managed to offer a careful examination of the main reasons why Western civilization (especially that of the United States of America) has been given definitely negative characteristics. [Rosen G., 2] Eventually, Occidentialism by Buruma and Margalit is the one of few attempts to give a push to the future investigation into the reasons why it happens that people living within the same world, people living in the same span of time are so different both in their behavior and life perception. Metaphorically speaking, it is a kind of analysis of two different brains structured in the same way but functioning in a quite opposite manner.

The authors of the book pay much attention the roots of anti-westernism that eventually is being explained as the aftermath of late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century German romanticism and nineteenth-century slavophiliac impact. The major characteristics of these two movements can be defined as neglect for rational thinking and calculations typical for Western culture but perceived it a totally different way by the representatives of the Eastern civilization Primarily based on favor of spirit and national character Eastern culture is very different from Western rationalized way of thinking. That very difference in the very world perception provides the clue to many historical events one of which is terrorism.
Primarily defined as counterattack to the contrary thinking, terrorism has become the most dangerous characteristics the humankind is facing now. But it is not the terrorism issue that is being the core of this book. In fact, what is even more important are the authors contemplations as to the reasons that drive to terrorism. The most dangerous about these kinds of contemplation is associations of Western culture with evil rather than with that of God. Eventually these kinds of contemplations lead to false perception of Western civilization as the domain of Satan, thus a culture that has no religion at all, or even worse – the civilization who prefers to distort traditional religions’ values like that of Islam and Jihadism. Consequently, it is no wonder that such kind of both religious and cultural misperceptions lead to the events of September 9/11 that in some areas were considered as a kind of revenge for all the misdeeds Westerners did to the Eastern civilization.

The authors of the book, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit, stress on the fact that attacks has been carried out by educated persons familiar with Western moral and cultural heritage thus aware of the thing they were doing. Consequently, one can come to the conclusion that suicide attacks on American targets was the result of actions conducted by educated Arabs who were familiar with the grounds of civilized and democratic society, people who were aware of the crime they did but along with that by people who were not hampered by that kind of contemplations. Hardly strangers to the West Arabs must have been sure of the righteousness of their actions. In this case, one may encounter the situations when serious of crimes have been conducted by people who had (or were imposed to had) reasons to hate or even despise the United States as the nation comprise of corrupters, comfort-loving cowards, and spiritual eunuchs. That very feeling of Western culture rejection eventually lead Arabs to board their planes and to turn them into deadly missiles, whose destructive force has taken life of millions of people who had no other way as to embrace the prospect of martyrdom for the ideas they considered to be true.
The parallels Mr. Buruma and Mr. Margalit drew actually drew 9/11 were with not occasional or accidental. In fact, these were the outcome of historical confrontation on the issues of religion.

Thus, it is no surprise that historically tenacious and deeply anti-liberal theme has grown into new ideology based on the feelings of despise and hatred one may find strange and abnormal at the beginning of the 21st century. The authors try to draw readers’ attention to the the fact that occidentialism incited the feeling of revenge and rivalry, similar to the violence against the bourgeois West having been experienced by Maoists and Nazis, Baathists and the Khmer Rouge. Paradoxically, all these examples by large scale cruel deed were inspired by some kind of ideology. For example, in the case with Khmer Rouge and Maoists the prevailing ideology was anti-bourgeois ideas that later on have grown bloody confrontation. Consequently, a conclusion can be made that the events 9/11 can be explained as wrong perception of the west as a “bastard child of Enlightenment rationalism and freedom” [Rosen G., 4].

The book’s main drawback is its small volume that eventually lacks space for a deep research one may find a strong need to while thinking about such important issue as confrontation of two civilizations. Even though elegantly written from start to finish the small volume of the book may be perceived as lack of facts or grounded research. However, even though having serious weakness the book can be considered as a laudable one. In some cases I had the perceptions the authors of the book simply throw out the ideas instead of presetting a grounded research one must find very important in case described in the book. Still, I think careful consideration of the viewpoints considered in the book would serve a very important source of information for both history researches and students. To some extend, reading such books may be helpful for individuals who would like to engage themselves in the dialogue or even some kind of musing on the events happening at present.

Works Cited:
Rosen G.; Is Terrorists’ Hatred of the West The West’s Own Bastard Child? March 27, 2004

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