Essay on Occidentalism: The West in the eyes of the East

Essay on Occidentalism: The West in the eyes of the East

Length: 689 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


In Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit's book, Occidentalism: The West in the eyes of the East, they set out to solve the fueling force that drives the "enemies" of America and the Western world. This hatred spans back to the times of industrialization in the east, causing hatred to erupt from the peoples of Asian nationalities, and continues up to present day with Al-Qaeda and the terrorist attacks.

Buruma and Margalit trace the roots of Occidentalism back to Germany, China, Japan and Russia. Japan used Westernization to keep up with the world and then turned their backs on it. Their goal was to "overcome the West, and be modern while at the same time returning to an idealized spiritual past" (Margalit 4). Because of this conflicting view on modernization, Japans quickness to modernize backfired. This soon led to the attack on Pearl Harbor because of the hatred the backlash created. The Germans also ended up suffering from their attempts at modernization. Berlin became a cosmopolitan city and this caused people to want to `get away from Berlin' because "Berlin's modernity was `un-German'" (28). German, French, Japanese, Chinese and Russia intellectuals all contributed to the modern view of Occidentalism. Their ideas created an atmosphere of critiquing and observing that allowed for further development of occidental ideas and interaction between the intellectuals, even those that were centuries apart were able to influence each other. The defining theory of Occidentalism is that the West is less than human, that they are revolting against secularism, individualism and rationalism.

The book gives a thorough look at the history of the ideas that for Occidentalism but it does not pay as much attention to...

... middle of paper ...

...r attitude towards everything, however; I do not think that these would be helpful in our countries current state of War on Terrorism. With our country at war, I think we need to use force against force as well as other means to create peace. I agree with the authors that the peace in the Middle East should come directly from the Middle East without any outside interference.

Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit set out to provide an understanding and a guide to Occidentalism and the way that the West is viewed by the East. They did a wonderful job at providing a history of Occidental thought but they lacked substance in why they hate us and what we can do to prevent them from hating us and attacking us. Overall I thought it was an interesting book and it was very insightful, however; I wish they would have provided more on the more current issues and prevention.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Origins of Occidentalism Essay

- To answer the question posed it necessary to first consider the development of, and what constitutes the West. Once this is achieved, we are than able to discuss occidentalism. However, the concept of orientalism, and what constitutes the orient, will first be considered as, arguably, orientalism provoked occidentalism. Thereafter, the four key features of occidentalism, identified by Buruma and Margalit (2004) will be discussed. Contemporary notions of ociddentalism, more specifically Islamic extremism will also be studied; of must importance here is if, or how, Buruma’s and Margalit’s (2004) theory of occidentalism aids our understanding of the perspective of those in resistance to the we...   [tags: Hostility, Western Modernism]

Good Essays
2314 words (6.6 pages)

Conflicts in the Middle East Essays

- Discussion Conflicts have been arising between the Middle East and the West for centauries, and as eras change, the reasons for those conflicts change along according to surrounding world events. Historically, the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth centaury paved a path for European colonialism, which was ignited by the desire for extra territories and a gate to Asia. Consequently, World War I started, and the conflicts were then mainly about religion. However after the war, when all countries broke out of the European imperialism, England handed the Jewish people a piece of land that originally belonged to the Palestinians in their 1917 Belfour Declaration; Arabs and Middle Ea...   [tags: uses of oil, Afghanistan invasion, East v West]

Good Essays
2546 words (7.3 pages)

Essay about East Side Gallery: The Right to Keep it Standing

- Imagine visiting your relatives graves in Europe. Imagine feeling excited to go and see some of your family history. Imagine going up to your relatives headstone and thinking that you will see their names, and dates written on it. Unfortunately, that is not the case, because when you get there, the headstone is broken and is laying all over the leaves and dirt across the grave, shattered into pieces. You think about all the memories you had with them, when they were alive, and you can’t help but wonder ‘’why would someone ruin a person’s legacy and a piece of history like that?’’ The standing remainder of the Berlin Wall is just like that....   [tags: east and west berlin, the berlin wall]

Good Essays
1965 words (5.6 pages)

Jalalud'din Rumi : Intermediary between East and West Essay examples

- Jalalud'din Rumi : Intermediary between East and West The 13th-century teachings of Jalalud'din Rumi, the Sufi Muslim philosopher from modern-day Afghanistan, are rich with wisdom to guide and open the hearts every human being. Rumi's insights on love, awareness of the things of the soul and tolerance, could extend a helping hand across the growing culture gap dividing the West and the Eastern Muslim world. Rumi wrote and taught that all religious groups are equal in the eyes of God. If he were alive in our modern time, he would have no qualm worshipping or praying in a church or synagogue instead of his own religious holy places....   [tags: Sufi Muslim Philospher, Afghanistan, Modern Day]

Good Essays
1178 words (3.4 pages)

The Tumultuous Relationship between the East and the West Essays

- During the Age of Exploration, early orientalism started to take shape in fashion. Since, the East has remained an inspiration and influence to Western culture. In spite of this, oriental dress does not symbolise cultural flexibility and acceptance, but rather imperialism. It is a metaphor whereby the West establishes a dominant role over the East by studying and reproducing oriental culture. As Edward W. Said put it, “Imperialism consolidated the mixture of cultures and identities on a global scale....   [tags: fashion, imperialism, orientalism]

Good Essays
969 words (2.8 pages)

Cross-Cultural Connection of the East and West Essay example

- much of the 16th and 17th centuries, much of the West had an intense drive for exploring and dominating foreign worlds. Explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan and Francesco Carletti, dominate history as some of the first people to circumnavigate the globe in an effort to further exploration of the new world. When the East and the West met it was a collision of vastly different cultures that would eventually combine in forms of cross-cultural connections, working to forage relations upon these encounters, forever changing the world....   [tags: culture, Ferdinand Magellan, Francesco Carletti]

Good Essays
1665 words (4.8 pages)

Essay about West Bank vs East Bank

- The two areas that contain and surround the city of New Orleans are known to the residents of the southern Louisiana as the west bank and the east bank. The two locations have their own unique way of celebrating the famous holiday of Mardi Gras. Though the two areas differ in the people who attend their parades and size of their parades; they are similar in their style of celebration. The majority of people who attend Mardi Gras parades on the west bank are often different from the majority of people who attend Mardi Gras parades on the east bank....   [tags: New Orleans]

Good Essays
509 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on East Goes West

- One of the first works of fiction written by an Asian immigrant to the United States, Kang's novel describes his early adulthood with a poignant humor that touches not only on his most positive experiences in a new country--such as being befriended by other Korean Americans--but also on some of his worst: the time when college classmates convinced him to run a race in long underwear. Kang, however, never forces us to feel sorry for him; simply by relating his experiences to us in a uniquely crafted language that reflects both his extensive literary training and his own quirky sense of style, Kang manages to win our sympathy for an obviously gifted young man who faces discrimination and hard...   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
716 words (2 pages)

East vs. West in The Great Gatsby Essay

- F. Scott Fitzgerald tends to write with a very poetic style in his otherwise prose novels. The Great Gatsby is no exception. In the novel, Fitzgerald takes an obscure and rather insightful look on basic issues of the 1920’s. One of those issues is that of east vs. west. The 1920’s were a time of booming youthful energy in the east and of age-old tradition in the west. Fitzgerald uses a somewhat naturalistic approach when he suggests that people belong to one or the other and cannot function in the wrong one....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
958 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on The west

- The west The West was a form of society rather than an area. It is the term applied to the region whose social conditions result from the application of older institutions and ideas to the transforming influences of free land. By this application, a new environment is suddenly entered, freedom of opportunity is opened, the cake of custom is broken, and new activities, new lines of growth, new institutions and new ideals, are brought into existence. The wilderness disappears, the "West" proper passes on to a new frontier and, in the former area, and a new society has emerged from this contact with the backwoods....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
2787 words (8 pages)