My View of the West: Reflections from the East

By Zachary Isrow

My research is interdisciplinary engaging in philosophy, anthropology, and even with interest in cosmology. Likewise my research is global in that it crosses borders and is not confined to the West in particular. In fact, my view of the West is is themed as: Reflections of the East. In all of my research I convey the dialogue between East and West and see the modern conception of ‘West’ as part of a dialectic global exchange. My forthcoming book The Spectricity of Humanness offers critiques of contemporary western ontological perspectives – those of Harman and Meillassoux, among other speculative realists who in turn draw from tradition of Kant and Heidegger. However, my own solution to the problem of Western metaphysics is largely rooted in Eastern philosophies, most notably Daoist thought. Currently I am working on another book that considers in a more direct way the dialogue between East and West, offering a comparison between thinkers on each side which closely resemble one another, tentatively titled From East to West towards East Again.

However, my engagement with this theme of East/West dialectic is not limited to my academic work. I was also a practicing Buddhist for some time and still am a certified meditation coach, in which I engage both Eastern and Western themes which complement one another. Further, as a musician and a composer I build this dialectic into my music bringing in musical themes that are not always typical and expected that cross-genres and borders.

Generally, my view of the West is filtered through an Eastern lens – in all my engagements with the ‘West’ I harken back to the East and attempt to find the reflections from the one in the other. The goal in doing so is to focus on the similarities between the two, in order to better recognize, and appreciate the differences, and then, in turn, reflect on my own being-in-the world from this mirrored perspective.

My View of the West is a series of short posts by members of The West Network about their research or perspectives of ‘the West’.

Zachary Isrow is Assistant Professor of Humanities at Beacon College, Leesburg, Florida.

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