Reflection on the Re-Awakening East

 06).Reflection on the Re-Awakening East

Question 01) What do you know about the author of the lesson “Reflection on the Re-Awakening East?

Ans)The author of the lesson “Reflection on the Re-Awakening East” is Bertrand Russell. He is one of the most outstanding writers and thinkers of modern time. He was born in 1872. He inherited an earldom but did not make use of his title. Before becoming famous as a writer, he was an eminent mathematician and philosopher. His more popular works have been notable for their introduction of scientific attitudes into the discussion of politics and sociology.

Question 02) On what ground Bertrand Russell argue that Communism is “the most and virulent form of Western Imperialism

Ans)Bertrand Russell says that Communism is the most modern and extremely severe and hostile from of Western Imperialism. However, Communism is not widely recognized either in the East or in the West. Communist Russia tried to unite the smaller nations of the world under its domination but practically all. European countries adopted Communism in order to establish the White Imperialism throughout the world. Its philosophy is German and its regime is imposed by military force. The West used its philosophy and military force to rule over the less-developed nations of the world.

Question 03) What do you understand by the term “The Spinning Wheel”? Did Ghandi remain successful in restoring the Spinning Wheel?

Ans)Ghandi used the Spinning Wheel as the symbol of promoting the local industries and self- production in India. He organized his social philosophy based on Spinning Wheel. In the philosophy, it was decided to make a virtual boycott of foreign-made goods and to promote domestic cottage industries in India. Ghandi had immense influence over his compatriots but he was unable to restore spinning wheel philosophy in India.

Question 04) What do you understand by the term “Cosmopolitanism”?

Ans) “Cosmopolitanism” means international culture divorced from local characteristics. Modern cosmopolitanism is based upon science and machinery. These two new element in civilization have been superimposed upon older cultures and have been shown themselves such powerful solvents that they tend to put an end not only to what was bad but also what was good in the culture of the past.

Question 05) What does Bertrand Russell make a strong desire for stable and peaceful Asia?

Ans)Bertrand Russell suggests that humankind must learn a degree of mutual respect and it should be the right of everyone to follow the traditions of one’s culture freely. He thinks that the nations of Asia will have learnt a lesson from their suffering under the foreign domination. When they from new states based on their ideologies, a peaceful and humanitarian bloc of nations will be established in Asia.

Question 06) What were the mistakes made by the west, which according to Lord Russell, the nation of Asia must not copy?

Ans)As a well-wisher of the rising nations of the East, Lord Russell has advised them to avoid the blind following of the blunders made by the west. During the last five centuries, the west displayed immense energy in almost every field of life. There were a number of bad and harmful forms of the display of power which virtually ruined all the great achievement of the west due to desire to rule, dominant and exploit the small and weak nations. The east should refrain from the negative use of power.

Question 07) What kind of concept of a balanced and pleasant life has Lord Russell suggested in the Machine Age?

Ans)Lord Russell says that science and mechanization certainly play a tremendous role in the progress and prosperity of a nation but they should be used in a controlled and rational manner. If we want to make human society happy and peaceful, we should not mechanize life fully. In addition to science and technology, certain other important elements also must have their due place in the concept of life. These factors which contribute to make life pleasant and peaceful, are Poetry, Music, Art and simple joys of life. 

Question 08) Why is it insular for European historians to term the centuries, after the fall of the Roman Empire, “The Dark Ages”?

Ans)Although the term “The Dark Ages” is generally applied to the early medieval period of Western European history, specifically, it refers to the time (476-800) when there was no Holy Roman Emperor, or the time (500-1500) when there were frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life. In either case, it was only the Christened Europe which was going through a period of intellectual darkness and barbarity. The Muslim world, as well as Spain, and the Chinese Empire were both culturally brilliant and geographically extensive. Thus, Bertrand Russell in the chapter ‘Reflections of the Re-awakening East’ says that it is the narrow outlook of the Europeans to term this period “The Dark Ages”.

Question 09).On what grounds does the author argue that Communism is the “most modern and virulent form of Western Imperialism”?

Ans)In the chapter ‘Reflections on the Re-awakening East’ Bertrand Russell argues that Communism is the most modern and bitterly hostile form of Western policy to establish their political and economic hegemony over other nations. He says that although Communism is not widely recognized in either the East or the West, it is wiping out the ancient and glorious traditions of civilization in Asia. He also says that China has been greatly affected by it and advises the other Asian countries that re-awakening of East should not mean subjection to Communism as its philosophy is German and its regime is imposed by military force. In addition, he says that poetry and music and art and love and the simple joys of life are necessary to make human life tolerable, but these elements are forgotten in the Communist philosophy. That is why Bertrand Russell considers Communism the most modern and virulent form of Western Imperialism. 

Question 10).Why does the author consider it useless to resist industrialization?

Ans)In the chapter ‘Reflections on the Re-awakening East’ Bertrand Russell considers industrialization an essential condition of survival in the modern times. It was a source of power for England in the 19thcentury, and it is a source of power for America and Russian in the present day. Industrialism prevails wherever there is sufficient civilization to make it possible. Therefore, it is useless to resist industrialism. Bertrand Russell quotes two examples of such ineffective protests. Firstly, he mentions Carlyle’s book Past and Present, which eloquently expresses such angry protests on account of ruthlessness of industrialization and destruction of beauty. The second example, Russell gives, is that of Gandhi whose immense influence on his countrymen remained equally ineffective to restore the spinning-wheel.

Question 11) Does the author welcome cultural uniformity or not? How does he justify his attitude?

Ans)Bertrand Russell does not welcome cultural uniformity. In the chapter ‘Reflections on the Re-awakening East’, he strongly advocates both political and cultural independence. He says that Asia contains at least three distinct ivilizations: that of Islam, that of India and that of China. Therefore, it is a trifle absurd to expect cultural or political unity. History shows that no great civilization –such as, Indus Valley, Babylonian, Macedonian, Roman, Chinese and Islamic – has ever been cosmopolitan. Thus, the distinctive identity, and not cultural uniformity, leads civilizations to great heights.

Question 12) How is traditional culture threatened in an age dominated by science and machinery?

Ans)Traditional culture indicates all human activities which have been preserved, learned and transmitted over a long period of time. Bertrand Russell says that traditional culture is threatened by science and machinery. In ‘Reflections on the Re-awakening East’, he says that science and machinery have been superimposed on the older cultures, sweeping away not only what was bad, but also what was good in the culture of the past. To counter this constant threat, Bertrand Russell suggests that science and machinery should be rightly controlled because they are good and absolutely essential in modern times. He also suggests that we must continue appreciating poetry, music, art, love and simple joys of life to make to make human life tolerable.

Question 13) What, in the author’s view, has been the most serious flaw in the character of the West over the last few centuries?

Ans)The most serious flaw in the character of the West has been the love of power over other human beings. In ‘Reflections on the Re-awakening East’, Bertrand Russell says that the West displayed extraordinary energy from 16th century onward, which took both good and bad forms: abundance of necessaries and comforts on the one hand; racial and political oppression and exploitation of Asians and Africans on the other hand. The West used this energy and ingenuity to further imperialistic aims rather than attend to the needs and wants of humanity at large.

Question 14) What, in the author’s opinion, should Asian countries accept from the West and what should they reject?

Ans)In ‘Reflections on the Re-awakening East’, Bertrand Russell advises the Asian countries to accept industrialism from the West because it is a necessary condition of survival in modern times. Industrialism is a source of power and Asian countries will it difficult to preserve their independence without it. Bertrand Russell also warns Asian countries of the devastating consequences of copying the mistake of the West. Ruthless despots have brought the West to disaster. Their deep desire to have control other nations crushed human happiness at large. Thus, Asian countries should accept all means of prosperity and reject all ways of destruction.


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