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What the west has learned from the east in the twentieth century

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Chapter Summary

In the second half of the twentieth century, monumental changes occurred in Western culture, both in the sphere of values and cultural norms, as well as in the field of ideas and symbolic consciousness. Some of these changes were of an endogenous nature and were simply the result of an internal transformation in Western civilization, while other changes were the creation of diffusion, i.e., the influence of foreign cultural pressures. Ahimsa, the strict injunction against the use of violence or infliction of injury, constitutes an integral part of the ancient tradition of India. The French philosopher and originator of Catholic personalism, Jacques Maritain, was among the first to recognise the turning point constituted by the peaceful African-American protests initiated by King. Developing a strategy of non-violent struggle, Gandhi referred to ancient Indian religious concepts: truth (satya), duty (dharma), avoidance of harm (ahimsa), and suffering (tapas).

Keywords: African-American protests; ahimsa; foreign cultural pressures; Gandhi; western civilization



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