Monism (“Oneness”) is basically a positive outlook on life, because it is aditi – unifying – and therefore results in peace and love. Dualism (“Twoness”) is basically a negative outlook, because it is diti – dividing – and therefore results in competition and violence. What is surprising, though, is that either outlook is very destructive if taken to its extreme and divorced from the other.
Since the late 19th Century (thanks mainly to Swāmī Vivekananda’s speech at the Parliament of World Religions) when people think of “Indian Philosophy” they actually think, nine times out of ten, of the advaita-vāda of Śankara-ācārya, which ironically is India’s foremost example of Radical Monism taken to its utmost extreme. And so, I’m sure you’ve noticed, when anyone caricatures Indian philosophy they almost always say, “It’s all one. It’s all illusion.”
This school of thought arose out of necessity a few thousand years ago as a successful attempt…
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