Philosophical ideas originating in Asia and the West are often described in dichotomous terms, as if they represent mutually exclusive modes of thought. What’s the difference? A classic response is that Westerners tend to act according to individual preference, while Easterners are more likely to act according to group preference. Regardless of the validity of such a statement, it is floating around out there in the public ether. Why? Because it is easier to grasp complex phenomena as binary opposites. Framing ideas in this way we are predisposed to look for differences (e.g. in the West people sit on chairs, in the East they sit on the floor). It seems childlike in its simplicity, almost to the point of humor. Yet, we do this everyday. Quotidian objects become engaged in a dialectical tango. Gas or electric? Drive or walk? Soda or water? We construct binaries as a kind of mental shortcut for problem solving, whether or not the two elements are in fact cosmically opposed to each other. After all, it’s easier to choose between two than forty.
This site is a tribute to the center of the Venn diagram, that eye-shaped space where ideas pertaining to both categories are supposed to reside. It is a challenge to think more deeply about complex phenomena. Yet, it is an admission that we can not easily grasp either the products of human behavior or the development of human thought. It is an exercise in education.
Having studied and traveled in both Asia and the West, I felt that my writing and outlook began to reflect learning that had taken place across the globe. If I have something like a scholastic thumbprint, it is undoubtedly shaped by this diversity of experience. I consider this site as an output of that experience. It is an attempt to combine different types of learning while resisting the tendency to consider those learnings in dichotomous or antithetical terms. What this fusion of thought will taste like I can not yet say, but I hope that you will find it worth your time and critique. Join the discussion. Onward!