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The tendency of Western civilization to separate and exclude the real world from the world in any relationship is most visible. In Plato’s concept of the invisible external world which has a bearing in Christianity is a good example. Changes in the understanding of the notion of transcendence are crucial and help to explain the current predicaments.
Origin of ‘transcend’ is important for the understanding of the changes encountered. Originally, it is from Latin, meaning “going beyond or climbing”. Current meanings oscillate around “being completely out of this world”, the antonym for immanence. The changes in definition indicate serious changes in the notion which may have occurred too. Separation of transcendence from reality especially by Aquinas gave an identification of the realm of God. Tension was set forth due to conflicting ideology and attributes like darkness were given to human nature, leading to deviation from the initial meaning of transcend. Modernity is associated as a drift in the notion, which empowers humans to feel central to the universe and that transcend is connected to this world but has not been verified.
Rationality in modernity, which in accurate consideration pushes transcendence away from humans, brings other factors like the exclusion of human beings in reasoning according to Descartes. This is contrary to Plato’s ideology that humans should determine the order of matter. Kant however, imposes that humanity is an end to itself considering that they dictate order in the world through knowledge and morals. A turn away from theology was evident after the Copernican revolution, this is a line of agreement with Confucian reasoning. Modern reasoning is stated as Kant’s architecture and it is accountable for the current dissolution and damage to self and others.
Objectivity in reasoning that alienates human experiences is indeed the pitfall for universalism according to Adorno’s observations. Categorizing of humans and sub-humans, political ideologies, genocide and holocaust has foundation in Kantian reasoning. Separation of human experiences and reason disconnects the modern notion of transcendence. Thus, it is undesirable and dispensable. In essence it is seen that the empowerment of humanity compromises it too (Big irony of modernity). Apparently, it is not possible to reconnect the elements by use of Philosophy and the result is the damages we see day in day out (Zhao, 2009).
Transcendence in China and the Confucian Construction of Man
In Chinese culture there is notably a total non-existence of fear between nature and deity. Care of the “here and now” is predominant despite their belief in heaven. The Chinese have a notion about the Dao and Tian which indicates elements of transcendence, despite that if it resides within, it is immanent according to Tsung-San. The absence of fear which is challenged by the secular nature of their traditions is countered by the “strength and endurance” which remain mysterious and form a platform for agreement with Tu Weiming (Zhao, 2009).
Qualitative differences exist between the transcendent nature of the Chinese and Western in a unison agreement by scholars. In Chinese, transcendence exists within us and is not out of this world. However, there are some rejections to this from: modern scholars like Hall and Ames who stipulate that it goes against all pre-existing definitions. Rather than amass friction, Tian is in agreement as ascertained by Zhao (2009). Therefore, it should be taken as legitimate but the acceptance of inclusion of human experiences should be noted as the main difference with the Western notion of transcendence.
The aim of Chinese is to strive to unite humanity. In front of the Tian humbleness and passiveness were encouraged to seek inner strength and hope. Accordingly, human sentiments were given legitimacy including emotions and feelings. Guidance was sorted from the conscience, in line with the Confucian golden rule which states, “do not do to others what you would not like done to you”. The great and uncorrupted link posed a great danger to anyone who had a conflicting idea of transcendence. A lot of emphasis was put in constructing man to what is essential in human experiences like relations with parents.
Oppression of man came about as a result of defining individuals with respect to others. Despite the profound intention of embracing fundamental experiences, it brought deprivation of rights, freedom and dignity. Dissemblers are the greatest danger to the success of the notion due to the confidence placed in human judgment in Chinese culture. An anchor in human realm remains to hold the positive view of humanity. As such there are frameworks that facilitate establishment and correction of problems related to Confucianism.
Categorically speaking, the exploration of the reason for the current predicament is an elusive subject that if not well looked at can be a contradictory tale with no means to an end. Interestingly, the author took a philosophical aspect on the change of the beliefs change that hold the world together. The use of ancient philosophy to extrapolate and explain the change and the differentiated views in the reasoning is very persuasive. Firstly, the establishment of the divergent meanings in the original meaning of ‘Transcend’ from Latin and the current meaning gives the breaking grounds to show the need to establish the reason for the gap. Particularly, the invocation of renowned Philosophical reasoning which shaped what we know today is very thoughtful and reliable. No additives or illogical claims have been interpreted from the Philosophy. This makes his argument very acceptable and persuasive.
In evidence, Zhao (2009) uses the Philosophy. To start off, Plato’s constructs that show an existing realm beyond what we see is used. Along with that, the initial procedure for approaching decision making or a guide for reasoning is dominantly used. Aquinas, who to an extent borrowed arguments from Plato, is arguably a role player in the diverging of the meaning in that he interpreted the existence of something that is beyond this world to God. Apparently, this was an inclination to Christianity. Tension broke out due to the presence of different views on the matter. In summary, there emerged a separation of this world and another world. Hope was centrally built on another world and negativity in the respect of darkness was associated with this world. To his benefit, the author contrasts the establishment of the order of matter to aid in the process of making decisions as stipulated in Plato’s method to the exclusion of any role of humanity and effects in reasoning, to achieve objectivity according to Descartes. This alienates the reasoning during any decision from any part of human experience.
Central arguments and evidence for this article were derived from the Philosophical undertakings of Kant who apparently broke the seal and exposed the disconnection within humanity. In his argument, Kant stipulates that the current dependency on the human determination of what the order should be in the world, puts them central to the universe and as such, transcendence is connected to the world we know. To add onto that, the complete disregard of human experiences in reasoning as per universalism and totalitarianism for objectivity command a multitude of thinkers and ways in the current society and qualifies to bear the label of architecture of the modern thinking (Zhao, 2009). To some extent the reasoning of Kant is applied in many activities that are blamed as deviant and unacceptable in society. Accurately, the difference between the Kantian reasoning and Confucianism lies in the use of human experiences such as emotions, feelings and sentiments.
Strengths of this article derived from the deviation between the models of thinking for different person as per the cultural underpinnings that they have. In this case, there is an intense synchronization of what the author holds as the truth and the existing Philosophical literature from renowned personalities in the history of the world. Case in mind is the tracing of beliefs of segregation and division of humans and sub-humans among other uncouth practices to the Philosophy by Kant. Weaknesses however, can be noted in the gap in the explanation of why some of the Christian or religious believers, who detest the Kantian reasoning are prone or form part of the existing web of predicaments. The use of only two cultures to explain the nature of modernity, in addition to the use of Kantian reasoning as the central argument is limiting in depth of research.
In my opinion, there is a bias in the consideration of cultures for the derivation of the thesis statement. One of the notable biases is that the writer only invokes the use of Kantian Philosophy centrally, to explain the current human behavior whereas that may not be entirely true. Assumptions in the people involved is that they all succumb or live by the central philosophy in the article which has been articulated as the basic architecture for the existing cults, political mindsets as well as any ill fit behavior in the society. To be correct, there is a need to take into account those who do not live by the Philosophy but are still perpetrators or contributors to the problems in the current age.
After reading the article, the question of the dominant or the right notion still is not answered according to me. Western notion of transcend is depicted as being dangerous to the society. To an extent it is acceptable. In the same article the disabilities of the West are catered for in the Confucian model. Advantages of considering human experiences, incorporation of feelings and emotions are sited. In the same manner, the Confucian transcend in form of Tian is deemed to bring oppression amongst the people due to dissemblers (Zhao, 2009). As an added pitfall, the acceptance of the superiority of human judgment is not a solution to the unending crisis in the world. In other words, mere condemnation is given to both beliefs and no solutions pinpointed afterwards.
In conclusion, it leaves me wondering whether there is a scenario in the current age that depicts a particular individual subscribes solely to one Philosophy. In that case, you will find even the religious fall into various temptations which lead them to depict characteristics of certain Philosophy. Momentarily, they can be associated by that mode of reasoning but may integrate other methods or use other types of procedural thinking in other similar moments. The question therefore lies in the total belief in subscription to what the author claims to shape modern reasoning.