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Why Understanding the Jews may Help the West Understand China

June 17, 2019

 

 

 

Ask people in the US about the Jews, specifically who ARE the Jews, a typical answer you may get is "holy people," "God's chosen," yet ask people in China the same question, you typically may hear "smart people" "very smart people".

 

Why the divide? The west, as it turns out, seem to place a special attention on what is good or evil. Whereas in the East, the same dichotomy is replaced with "wise" or "not wise" if there is even such a divide. The approach towards good and evil as the same side of the coin can sometimes be known as "nonduality."

 

Nonduality today in the western world can be associated with practices often watered down in the form of "mindfulness," "meditation", "yoga" or just eastern philosophy in general. "Mindfulness" as defined by western meditation pioneer Jon Kabat Zinn as "paying attention in the present moment, nonjudgmentally."

 

But what exactly is "nonjudgment?" We seemingly associate everything in the western world with a label of "good and bad." Political leaders are either saviors or "Hitler," a term described to US Presidents from Bush to Trump as well as others. Even antisemetic sentiments are based on whether the Jews are "good" or "bad" particularly when it comes to traditional evil things such as money in the Christian community.

 

Christianity sees Good and Evil as balanced against eachother. It's either God or Satan. In Judaism, Satan itself is a force/entity created by G-d, and perfectly aligned with G-d's every wish in a grand, divine, intelligently created plan...so smaht...

 

In fact, the book of Isaiah clearly states "G-d creates good and evil"

 

How can a culture so deeply ingrained to view everything as good or evil, outside of Divine intention, converse and understand a world in which good and evil are simply angles at which we look at things? Leaders who would otherwise be looked upon as corrupt and "evil" are seen by the Chinese people as a necessary evil with a silver lining. Deception is a part of Asian culture, one doesn't have to follow the news, or haggle with a Chinese salesperson to realize that $5 can really mean $2 or $200. The West may be tempted to simplify this as "evil" or "not honest" in linear morality. However, to the Chinese, there is a silver lining behind this. Deception towards outsiders can mean closeness between insiders... An "oppressive" government may be "bad" but it can also foster closeness within the family unit, where compassion and justice reign.  

 

This is a phenomenon that permeates into trade, religion, business. Not understanding may lead to not just misunderstandings in philosophical and intellectual concepts, but business, trade and foreign relations as well.

 

When we look at the Jewish culture, we see elements of the West, but also strong elements of the East.

 

King Solomon is a prime example of a person who possesses Eastern wisdom and is attributed to nonduality in the book of Proverbs, when he said that slaves can become masters, and even apparently evil acts such as threatening to cut a baby in half, can lead to display of the opposite: such as a woman selflessly giving her baby away for the welfare of the baby.

 

We do not know if this story is historically factual, however, but the Chinese and the Jews have had writings pertaining to stories that tells a moral, usually one that is beyond the apparent, and nonlinear. Had the story of King Solomon and the Two Prostitutes been told in the Western world in classic linear morality, it would've considered King Solomon as an evil person for making such a blatantly murderous and violent threat.

 

If we cannot understand the Jews, it may be even more difficult to understand the Chinese. In business, it means we can be taken advantage of.

 

As we move into a new age in which all countries share a role in our efforts against common enemies, global threats like ISIS requires us to understand how each other operate. Both the Chinese and Jews traditionally emphasze the concept of using deception when waging war. In Proverbs and in Sun Tzu's art of war, there is the translated instruction "Use deception to wage war". Hebrew: Ki b'tachbulot ta'aseh lecha milakhama. Chinese: Bin Zhe, Guidao Ye. War therefore, is a matter of using intellect to impose will and domination, rather than a struggle of good and evil.

 

Good and evil in Asian cultures is a choice. To rule with openness, and wage war with deception. An ideal fight is one that is not prolonged, and one where the enemy surrenders out of freewill.  

 

The West also has an abundance of advantages qualities to offer the East with its decisive way of approaching morality. Once something is deemed "wrong," only the West and the US can be expected to commit to decisive action to neutralize the situation, as seen in Western involvement in World War I and II and beyond. After all, the full commentary on the Art of War is such that: Rule with openness, Wage war with deception. The lack of deception of the West, while some may interpret as immodesty, is a quality this world needs. But like a husband and wife, the Western world and Eastern World needs eachother. And like a child with qualities of both parents, the Jews are a whole package of the world, a true microcosm of everywhere the exile has reached. The muslims have been tradesmen of history, also a bridge between the west and east, but the Jews, through exile, do that through cultural exchange. By understanding the Jews, we would have unlocked the gates to a whole other world: Asia. We can then effectively trade, without being taken advantage of, and when necessary take advantage of the differences in military approaches to address our global threats, human or economical, hasten peace, establish justice, and create a future in which we can all enjoy, namely one with an abundance of Asian cuisine...

 

 

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