And if the core difference between our system and the collectivist and traditional systems of the East and thus the incompatibility of our system with these collectivist and traditional systems is an epistemological one, it follows that our system lacks something which the collectivist and traditional systems possess. In other words, they know something we do not know. Emile Durkheim made an important distinction between education and science. Whereas education pertains to “guiding conduct” and action, science pertains to the “expression of reality” through a set of theories.
All roads, therefore, lead us to education and a “crisis” of “serious proportions” which results from a “secular moral education” to borrow from Durkheim. This type of education rests solely on “ideas, sentiments, and practices accountable to reason only” which in turn leads to “disturbing traditional ideas, disrupting old habits, entailing sweeping organizational changes, and without posing, in turn, new problems with which we must come to grips.”
This rationalistic approach to a moral education prompts the need to “discover the rational substitutes for those religious notions that for a long time have served as the vehicle for the most essential moral ideas.” But this replacement is difficult to find, if not impossible to find. As Durkheim wrote:
“As long as religion and morals are intimately united, this sacred character can be explained without difficulty since, in that case, morality as well as religion is conceived as an attribute and emanation of divinity, the source of all that is sacred. Everything coming from it participates in its transcendence and finds itself by that very fact implicated in other things. But if we methodologically reject the notion of the sacred without systematically replacing it with another, the quasi-religious character of morality is without foundation, (since we are rejecting the traditional conception that provided that foundation without providing another).”
As a result, and as Durkheim added: “One is, then, almost inevitably inclined to deny morality. It is even impossible to feel the reality of it, when, as a matter of fact, it could very well be that it is founded in the nature of things.” What we have essentially done, then, is cut out a transcendental approach towards morality and science which is linked to a notion of divinity and religion in order to replace it with a rationalistic approach towards morality and science that has failed to fill the void left as a result of cutting out our transcendental approach and thus our link to divinity and religion.
Moreover, an entire system can come down to a single concept, idea, law, or principle, given the epistemological basis of our system and of other systems. And in theory, this concept, idea, law, or principle states that man is “not a whole” but rather, man is “part of a whole” and that the happiness which man seeks is one “which is not merely transient.” This concept, idea, law, or principle, however, cannot take root in a system whereby the very basic constitution and foundation consists of class inequality and individualism. Hence, the crisis which we find ourselves in a number of aspects, dimensions, and levels at the moment, as well as our incompatibility with collectivist and traditional systems.