Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Why this book (West vs. East) ...
There are hundreds of books addressing the yáng of outer leadership, complete with checklists, game plans, and first person accounts of how successful people exercised leadership. But I wanted to write a book about the yīn or an inner leadership.
Connected to those leadership issues, my other different views and thinking came from my martial arts practice and their philosophy toward life and fights.
I've learned that East wants to be in harmony with nature; the Western approach is to control nature also spurred by the Western way of life and religion. Martial arts in the East have a focus on the martial way and the mental culture united with body, while in the West their perspective is sportier and competitive, where winning becomes their main objective. We could say, using the concepts of Eastern is a ‘soft’ approach as in yīn, and Western is ‘hard’ as in yáng. Eastern mentality is like a bamboo tree which is quick to bend with wind, but in its absence becomes stronger. The West is like an oak tree unperturbed by the wind, only to be ‘unfortunately’ pulled out by a hurricane later on. There are other areas where similar contrasts can be made. The West talks about human rights, whereas the Far East understands collective rights or even more profound, rights for all living life-forms. The West is not economical with energy, whereas martial arts including Tai Chi, are good at preserving it and only call on it in an emergency.
My humble confidence is that there should be a third way, the way of knowing both approaches. Here we talk about leadership approaches, but this concept could also be extended to all other fields of human creativity, such as medicine, economy, and everyday life. In some places it is already accepted, in others still to be. I think this is where China with its enormous collection and accumulated knowledge to bring to light has a huge potential of wasted contributions to the world heritage treasury.