- Hardcover: 296 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan Company; 1st edition (1961)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0006AWZ9S
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #621,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lotus And The Robot Hardcover – 1961
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Top Customer Reviews
While there are better guides to the overall "texture" and ideas of Asian philosophy and religion, Koestler doesn't flinch here from telling us some of the uglier details that don't generally reach the west. Yes, Koestler is at times a little prejudiced coming from a Western religious tradition (His family were Ashkenazi Jews), and you can see that in this book... but his descriptions of REAL Indian yoga, will show you how much it has been cleaned up and bowdlerised for western consumption. Koestler also reveals some of the darker side of Buddhism, particularly Japanese Zen, which as he shows can produce a doublethink which can avoid morality, and such thinking may have been partly responsible for darker moments of WWII in the East. He also comes up with many ideas that I haven't seen elsewhere... for example he considers meditation as almost a practice for death. He also reminds people of the similarity of lesser known Western movements to Oriental ones, and of the massive influence of the west on the east of the time (far greater by now of course). Koestler himself was not uninfluenced by certain Eastern thought, indeed he titled one of his other books "The YOGI and the Commissar", and often referred to the "oceanic feeling" in his works, a close lift from Buddhism.
Koestler was no Hippie (he had seen enough of *real* war and totalitarianism not to fall in that trap)...Read more ›
to India and Japan. The 285 page book is about evenly divided between these two countries. Since I come from India I was primarily
interested in the section covering India and these comments are confined to that half of the book.
Koestler is a very sharp, intelligent, sensitive and yet didactic
observer. His visit to India was to check whether the country's
culture and philosophy had anything worthwhile to offer to the West.
His check on Indian philosophy is suppoerted by a meticulous and
detailed analysis of origial sources of information and comment. This type of in-depth analysis is rarely done and it is a pleasure
to read his observations.
Koestler spent time meeting several several well known Gurus, both male and female, and their disciples. The accounts of these meetings
increase the value of the book particularly for those readers who may not be attracted to erudite, sometimes abstruse, discussion of
This book is strogly recommended to readers with a serious interest
in India and its ancient spiritual culture.
Imagine if a Nazi writer wrote the same about jewish kids in the ghetto? Imagine the ex-Nazi writer saying, "O, what joy these hungry children bring, the ecstasy, planted seeds, sweet seeds for the master race"! Sure, the Nazi writer then turns tail and became a respected conservative and a fierce critic of anti semitism, but does this cancel out his love of starving kids from his younger days?
Do we trust this writer?
Surely his passionate eulogy to dying children out-ways his respectable demeure later in life? Towards the end, Arthur Koestler morphed into a grand old man in Thatcher's England and was partially responsible for banning the death penalty.
So please remember who they sent off to Japan and India to study those cultures. A grand conservative writer who's philosophical discourse at the end of his famous novel is better than Huxley's and Orwell's. I'm a long-time fan of Arthur Koestler, but you don't sent a Nazi to analyse Judaism and you don't send a Bolshevic to analyse spirituality.
What did they expect anyway?
One thing Koestler does have is critical faculties. These days, spiritual seekers have zero critical faculties.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a non-fiction piece about India and Japan, written in the late 1950's. The book's central topic appealed to me: "[W]ether the East had any answer to offer to our... Read morePublished on June 4, 2012 by Orwell Morgan