Clarke uses the following Framework for intercultural contact: - Gadamer: hermeneutics of the dialogue: it comes bit by bit, and entails a continuous exchange of meaning between interpreter and interpreted, the goal is 'fusion of conceptual horizons' which requires 'self-awareness of difference' and 'recognition of otherness of the other'. Problem: doesn't take into account underlying discursive power relations (Foucault) - Said: the influence (power) that the west exerted via colonisation, to secure world hegemony, is present in the image that has been created of the East in the West. Everybody involved in orientalism is consciously or not guilty of western imperialism. Clarke says that this image of Said is not complete and shows that interest for the East has often been connected to pragmatic interests, deeply rooted in Europe's own intellectual, cultural and political history. Orientalism often had a countercultural, counterhegemonic rol in the past three centuries and has often been source of energy for radical protest. This way orientalism has often not enforced Europe's established role and identity, but undermined it. Periods of cultural revolution and global expansion in Europe made it possible to create a painful void in the spiritual and intellectual heart of Europe, but also favoured the establishment of certain geopolitical conditions that allowed the transmission of alternative worldviews of the East to the West more easily.
The making of "the Orient"
Both the French Sinophile Enlightenment thinkers and the German Indophile Romantici used orientalism as instrument for the subversion and reconstruction of European civilization, to fight the deeply rooted evils of that time. This way they idealized and romanticized heavily eastern thought and culture. Confucianism gave the French a model for rationalistic, deistic philosophy, but also the Hinduism of the Upanishads gave the Germans an elevated metaphysical system that resonated with their idealist suppositions, as a counterweight to the materialistic and mechanistic philosophy that came to dominate the Enlightenment period.Buddhism: Schopenhauer formulates a radical critique on the Jewish-Christian tradition that searches salvation throught a divine Savior, while buddhism searches it by denial of the will. Wagner and Nietzsche give similar critiques because buddhism, so they claim, offers a psychologically more honest explanation of suffering. Because of the Victorian crisis of faith and belief in progress, and the apparent compatibility of buddhism and science (positivism, Darwinism, evolutionism, materialism, monism), buddhism gains importance. Also the American transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau) used buddhism against Lockean materialism and Calvinism, in their belief in the essential unity and spiritual nature of the cosmos, combined with a belief in the goodness of humans, and the domination of intuition over rational thinking.Besides romanticizing voices, also racist and denigrating voices are found in orientalist discourses.
Because of the quick progress and economic and social transformation of traditional to modern, Europe experienced an atmosphere of malcontentment with the promises of Western civilization, which made it search for more meaningful and satisfying alternatives. There are two types of associations of the turbulent twentieth century with orientalism: on the one hand the creative involvement in philosophy, theology, psychology, science and ecology, and on the other hand associations with occultism, and mystical undercurrents of fascism. In a period of growing imperialist expansion (which enhanced communication with the East), there was a possibility to begin to see the East really as other (with a different culture), but there was also a sense of being afraid, mixed with feelings of guilt toward the East. This had a different intellectual response: on the one hand there were big speculations about a universal philosophy or global religion, on the other hand there were more modest propositions for the encouragement of a hermeneutical dialogue. There was a tremendous spread of orientalism in the twentieth century, buddhist monasteries arised in the West, poets, writers, hippies and Beat movement, and also New Agers made use of Eastern thought, though not all of them seriously. Academic institutions were built, and eastern scholars came to Europe. Important European thinkers were influenced by the East. This accelerated the understanding of Eastern thought.
- Universalism (Leibniz, Moore) - Comparative philosophy (Nagarjuna compared with Nietzsche, Heidegger and Derrida, Madhyamaka with Wittgenstein) - Hermeneutics (Rorty: "the conversation of mankind", Larson: "from talking to one another, to talking with one another") - Diversity, otherness, difference, but a sharp awareness of the danger of cultural imperialism
- Exclusivism - Inclusivism - Pluralism
- Psychotherapy and mental health: holistic contextual approach of the individual, more emphasis on experiential knowledge than on intellectual knowledge - Fromm, Jung, Maslow, Naranjo, Ornstein - Transpersonal, humanistic, cognitive psychology - Meditation
Science and ecology
- Sovjet Marxism and buddhism - Capra, Jung, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Prigogine, Bohm - Schumacher, Naess, Macy - Wholeness (holistic medicine, ecology)
Besides the problem of interpretation of different cultures, there 's also a problem of projection: Eastern ideas are appropriated by simply projecting them to categories and presuppositions of the West, and the West has become a sort of all-eating monster, usurping all cultures. Clarke claims the aim is not to avoid use of a vocabulary that is derived from the own culture, but that the crucial point is that one does so with critical self-awareness. He emphasizes the importance of mutuality in the hermeneutical process: interpretation begins with pre-conceptions that are replaced by more appropriate conceptions. Example: the wrong understanding the West had (and still has) throughout buddhist history doesn't have to be considered as a failure, but as a necessary and wholesome "turning of the hermeneutical wheel". Orientalism contributed, so says Clarke, to a growth in mutuality, dialogue, knowledge and sympathy, and this while the East has now on the one hand enhanced grip to its own tradition (partly as a result of the encounter with the West) and on the other hand can formulate a solid critique to fundamental aspects of western culture. Also Said believed in a postcolonial era, where an increasingly sophisticated study and criticical self-awareness would make possible a post-orientalist epoch where westerners could approach the East without disturbing presuppositions.