Book Review: Intellectual Foundations of China by Frederick W. Mote


Amazing book.

“Other features of Chinese religion also can be better understood when freed from implicit assumptions about universal analogies in the way people think.” (page 18)

“The Chinese Great Tradition, under no necessity to consider the issue of a supreme creator God, did not need to elevate faith over reason.” (page 19)

Confucianism, Taoism, Mo Tzu, problem of knowledge, comparisons to western notions.

Book Review: Life of Black Hawk by Black Hawk


“I explained to them the manner the British and Americans fought. Instead of stealing upon each other, and taking every advantage to kill the enemy and save their own people, as we do, (which, with us, is considered good policy in a war chief,) they marched out, in open daylight, and fight, regardless of the number of warriors they may lose! After the battle is over, they retire to feast, and drink wine, as if nothing had happened; after which, they make a statement in writing, of what they have done – each party claiming the victory! and neither giving an account of half the number that have been killed on their own side. They all fought like braves, but would not do to lead a war party with us. Our maxim is, “to kill the enemy and save our own men.” Those chiefs would do to paddle a canoe, but not to steer it.” (page 20)

Firsthand account from Black Hawk. Originally published in 1834.

Shines a light on many weaknesses of that time that still exist today:
Inability to see how actions affect others.
Projecting problems unto others in an unbalanced way.
Making oneself out to be the victim.
Unworthy entitlement to land ownership.

Book review: Dynamic Judaism: The Essential Writings of Mordecai M. Kaplan


Amazing insights into deep world of Judaism. Strong definitions of many movements of Judaism, including reconstructionist.

A contradiction that backed me away from this book. Kaplan writes of absorbing practices of other cultures for practice during times of leisure. Then goes on to write about religions of native cultures being unsophisticated. Seems different religions are sophisticated and complex in different ways. Some by way of thought, dance, spoken word, or integration with agrarian practices. I am interested to know reasons Kaplan mentioned native religions being unsophisticated.