End Of The Semester Ramblings

End Of The Semester Ramblings
Dane La Born

Dane La Born

I’ve finished my first semester at the university, barring a few finals over the next three days, and the experience was not at all what it was supposed to be. Growing up, and even into adulthood, I’d heard how hard college would be and that I may want to drop out by December. Now, maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t let my brain just quit learning after High School, and continued to seek ways to broaden my mind, but I didn’t find myself lost or feeling out of place once.

There is one serious problem I have with the university in general though. To them, it’s a semantics issue. To me, it’s culturally insensitive and presenting falsehoods.

For my major, I was required to take an Intro to Philosophy class. Through no fault of the professor, it probably qualified as the most racist and misinformative class I’ve ever taken. The reason being the philosophy we learned was only Western. Descartes, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Voltaire, and though we didn’t read any of his crap, thank god, Neitszche.

The Greeks in the list above, particularly Socrates, are referred to quite often as the Fathers of Modern Philosophy. They’re not at all, they’re the father of Western philosophy. Folks in the East had been philosophizing on the nature of life, the soul, and the universe for years.

I e-mailed my professor to ask why the course was essentially a lie, and his answer was so disappointing to me. This is a good school, full of intelligent people, yet somehow anything taught by the Eastern Philosophers is taught under a Religious Studies banner.

This is such a typical thing for Westerners to do. I learned a long time ago that things like Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and the majority of Eastern “religions” are not religions at all, they are philosophies. Things like “Nature does not hurry; yet everything is accomplished” [Tao Te Ching], “To know what you know and know what you don’t know; that is true wisdom” [Confucius] are not things one finds in religious texts, they are found in philosophical documents.

But somewhere along the way, we Americanized these ancient philosophies, treated them as divine wisdom, and turned them into religions, complete with deities that we 100 percent misunderstand. Like that Buddha is a title, not a god. Or that Siddhartha Guatama was the first Buddha, a real person, who the majority of Westerners wouldn’t recognize if there was a million dollars riding on the line.

The university discredits an entire branch of philosphy when “Intro to Philosophy,” which should survey all the early teachers, excludes the teachings of the wise masters of the East and instead categorizes them as religions — when they weren’t.

My point is, I was disappointed. I hate Western Philosophy, precisely because it acts like it’s the only philosophy to happen, when philosophers from the East like Sun Tzu wrote books that are still used today as fundamental guides to waging war.

So that is my rant on the quasi-racist but mostly accidentally so Philosophy department at our esteemed university. They need a Robert Neralich in their staff, and I’m forever thankful that I had an Asian Studies class in High School that functioned on a collegiate level.

Categories: Commentary