The “Western” Prohibition Against Higher Knowledge and Realization Versus the “Eastern” Advocacy of Higher Knowledge and Realization
In Western (or Occidental) literature, mythology, and religious legends, stories, and doctrines—there is a characteristic and persistent tendency to associate a negative connotation or result with the quest for higher knowledge (and, altogether, with the process of esoteric initiation, esoteric knowledge, and esoteric Realization). In the traditional Western (or Occidental) literatures, there is (characteristically) a “penalty” for those who approach the Divine too closely, or who even seek to Realize Oneness with the Divine. Indeed, the tendency to confine human existence and human potential to the mundane, the material, the physical, the social, and all that is merely exoteric is the principal characteristic of the Western mind, all of Western culture, all of Western religion, and all that characterizes the Western (or the “Westernizing”) and the “modern” (or the “modernizing”) influence and tendency.
In the ancient Jewish story of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve are penalized for taking the fruit of the Tree that would give them the unique knowledge that would put them on a par with “God”. In the myths of the ancient Greeks, Icarus and Prometheus are punished for “getting too close” to the sun and to fire—and, when Bellerophon rides his winged horse, Pegasus, up to the dwelling place of the gods, he is thrown down, because he presumed he could attain the status of the gods.
Likewise, Jesus of Galilee is, according to tradition, said to have been crucified for claiming Oneness with the Divine. As these famous examples (along with many other examples) indicate, the traditions of the West (or that, otherwise, characterize what can be identified as the Western, or Occidental, mentality) are typically associated with the prohibition against higher (and, altogether, esoteric) knowledge and Realization. Therefore, there is a basic presumption in the traditional West (and in the characteristically Western mind) that one must neither own too much nor know too much—but, coincidently, the traditional West (and the characteristically Western mind) is possessed by a persistent fascination with owning and knowing, and even a kind of lust to own everything and to know all.
In the characteristically Eastern (or Oriental) traditions, the unique (or defining) characteristic is the opposite of the unique (or defining) characteristic of the Western (or Occidental) traditions. Therefore, in the typical Eastern (or characteristically Oriental) traditions, the stories, the myths, and the religious legends and doctrines are unambiguous about the praising, the glorifying, the seeking, and the attaining of higher (and, altogether, esoteric) knowledge and Realization.
The characteristic tendency (and ambivalence) of the Western mind not only shows itself in literature, mythology, and religion, but also in the basic Western (and characteristically “modern”) inclination toward materialism (including scientific and political materialism), which is an enterprise of conventional knowledge (and of worldly power) that dogmatically eschews and systematically excludes all that is esoteric (or all that is metaphysical, or Spiritual, or Transcendental, or Divine).
Therefore, the West (and all that is characteristically “modern”) is characterized by ambivalence (and even suppressiveness) relative to higher (and, altogether, esoteric) knowledge and Realization, and (otherwise) by a clear preference for exoteric and materialistic knowledge. It can even be said that Western culture (and all of “Westernized”, or “modern”, civilization) is founded not only on materialism but on an actual and persistent (and gravely limiting) fear of higher (and, altogether, esoteric) knowledge and Realization.
By contrast, characteristically (and traditionally) Eastern (or typically Oriental) culture and civilization is associated with a positive and most profound orientation toward higher (and, altogether, esoteric) knowledge and Realization. Also, the typically Eastern (and typically Oriental) mind and orientation is characterized by far less interest in (or attachment to) material things than is (otherwise) seen in the West (and, altogether, in the “modern”, or “Westernized”, world).
In short, the West (in and of itself) is “esophobic” (or inherently afraid of What Transcends the conventionally known or knowable)—whereas the East (in and of itself) is “esophilic” (or inherently self-identified with all that is of a higher, or, otherwise, Transcendent nature).
Therefore, the Out-Growing of the now universalized Western “esophobic” tendency, and its ambivalence, its materialistic revulsion, and its suppressiveness relative to the “esophilic” (and not merely Eastern, but Really Spiritual, Transcendental, and Self-Evidently Divine) process of Self-Realizing the Condition of Reality Itself is the principal necessity for even all of humankind in this “late” (or “Westernized”) time and in this “dark” (or “modern”) epoch.
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