The Concept of Mental Health : East and West  
Read by Lee Jung-Kug, M.D. by proxy, at the plenary session "Concept of Mental Health", 3rd Pan-Asia Pacific Conference on Mental Health, Beijing, 2001.


The Concept of Mental Health : East and West
- Fusion of the Eastern Tao and Western Science.(Գ)

RHEE Dongshick, M.D.
Dongbook Neuropsychiatric Clinic, Seoul, Korea (Seoul, KOREA)


1. Return of Macao to China symbolizes the end of Western

territorial colonization of Asia. On the other hand, "The Western colonization of the Indian mind paradoxically become greatest than was the case when the country was still a British colony."(S.Kakar, 1995). This increasing colonization of the mind (and culture) is not only limited to India but apply to whole Asia and almost all countries of the non-Western world.

Alan Watts maintained that the Eastern Tao (traditional philosophy and religion of Asia) is critic of cultures whereas the Western culture is only a culture, and that the Tao is the supreme identity.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell who visited China in 1919 and lectured at Pecking Univertty until 1921, wrote a book "The Problem of China" and published it in 1925. In this book he pointed out that Chinese people were eager to learn Western science and culture, felt inferior to the West, and that China is superior to the West. If China learn the Western science and technology, China will become superior to the West.

The West should learn Chinese culture. He warned the Chinese should not learn Western culture under foreign management like missionary school but be educated at Chinese school by inviting foreign instructor under Chinese administration. If you are educated at foreign school under foreign manegement you will become de-nationilized, slavish and conservative.

C.G.Jung wrote in the West the greatest political freedom and the greatest personal unfreedom, in the East the opposite ; in the West unforeseeable boom of technical scientific cultural trends of Europe, the power of the West is maturial, that of the East is ideal(ideel);, and proposed the Europe should be the bridge between the West and the East.

Lewis Mumford(1944) pointed out that the past 200 years history of the West is the barbarism and dissolution. He proposed self-examination, self-understanding, self-discipline, and self-control as the means of renewal.

Edwin Reischauer (1970'?) predicted that in 21st century there would he a new civilization for the first time in 5000 years human history in the Far East which is the fusion of the essence of the civilization of the North East Asia and the Western science. In my opinion this is the fusion of the Tao and Western science. (Գ)

In the field of psychotherapy and counseling and philosophy of the West there is increasing interest and study in the Eastern philosophy and religion. Progress in neuro-science suggests the fusion of the Eastern Tao and the Western science. Transpersonal psychotherapy, spiritial theology, psychoanalysis combined with Zen-training, rise of interest in spirituality. All are heading towards Tao.

Interest in existence, communication, relation, personality and language.

Empathy, perception, personality of the psychotherapist, intersubjectivity. Experience and memory shape the brain (in neuro-science.)

On the other hand, there are the studies on the origin of Freudian psychoanalysis being traced to Schopenhauer who was influenced by Eastern thought. William Barett(1956) pointed out that the Tao is the remedy for Western philosophers who have been put in "conceptual prison" since Plato. Georg Picht pointed out that platonic metaphysics from which Western science and culture derived destroys nature, humanity, and society because it is based on theory, which is based on logic. Logic is dogma which is not the truth.

He proposed the new way of thinking which reach the truth : meditation. But he did not show how to meditate.
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