OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!” – Rudyard Kipling
So goes the Sage wisdom of a man who lived in both worlds and understood intimately the vast timeless gulf separating them. I like another observation written years ago but clearly remembered;
“Western Journalists trying to find
occidental answers for the oriental mind!”
Having spent a life time, with my generation, trying to figure out why world peace has eluded us and the threat of mass global destruction has constantly loomed like a dark dirty haze over our heads, it seems to come down to Kipling’s observation concerning the phenomenon of the irreconcilable differences between eastern and western mentality.
I’ve observed during my time working in the M.E. that just when I come to think we’re on the same page I discover we’re not even on the same planet. Does this mean that half the world’s population is alien? Not really, we of the human family, whatever our orientation on the compass are far more alike than different; but … those differences can cause a storm of misunderstanding and engender a world (literally) of trouble and pain through the variation of viewpoints and cultural orientation. As the poet states,
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”
Too often our essential sameness only comes home on the field of combat in the theater of conflict and that encounter is often fatal for one or both.
– Jack Harris