- Colin hoped to address a possibile criticism of his recent publication The Easternization of the West, in which he advances his easternization thesis - though I have not read it yet! He began by characterizing Western civilization as having an active value orientation and Eastern civilization as having a contemplative value orientation. The West seeks to change the world through activism, whilst the East accepts the world as it is and seeks to discover the 'real' nature of the world through contemplation. Colin then posed the possible criticism of TEOFW: if easternization is taking place, then asceticism should be more prominent than is suggested by data about the religious landscape of the West.
Colin used Roy Wallis' distinction between world-affirming and world-rejecting, noting that Wallis' categorisation of the New Age Movement as world-affirming depends upon an analysis of how the movement advertises itself. Colin argued that a world-affirming orientation is used by Western new religious movements to advertise themselves because this is the way in which all religious movements recruit followers. Very few religious movements appeal to the benefits it brings in the after life (i.e. very few are world-rejecting in their self-presentation), and those that do have to simultaneously convince people that this world is about to end (e.g. various forms of millenarianism).
Colin therefore adds to the activism and contemplation modes of action a third: being in becoming, in which there is activity coupled with the development of the self as an integrated whole. Success isn't measured by changes made to the world, but by changes made to the self. Activism is still observable in the West, and humans are understood as agents of change, but due to easternization a shift has occured through which humans are no longer agents changing an external world but agents changing themselves. It is a mentalized or psychologized activism. I thought Colin would add (but he didn't at this particular point) that it is an easternized activism.
The ascetic response to the tension between your hopes of experiencing the world and your actual experienc of the world is to change the world, but the mystic response is to change the self. A shift has occured from 1) activism > 2) having the right attitude helps achieve activist goals > 3) attitude is sufficient to effect the change sought. So the West has become easternized in this sense: there is still an activist value orientation (classic West), it is still about the self and what the self achieves (modernism), but it is an internal change rather than an external change that will achieve it (classic East).