When the Western mind got tired of the emptiness that their closed and circular philosophies inevitably led them, they discovered an altogether different paradigm in Eastern thought. Eastern Mysticism opened up possibilities and a way of thinking that the Westerner would probably have never conceived of on his own.
Sire once said: “Maybe the East, that quiet land of meditating gurus and simple life, has the answer to our longing for meaning and significance.” So the West looked to the East, and a flood of Eastern thought began to influence the Western mindset, and none more than Pantheistic Monism.
Cryptic definitions for God, man and reality began to blur the former framework in which the West had lived; Naturalism and all its sub-categorical “isms” became irrelevant, because logical thinking was now valueless. But one “ism,” Christian Theism, retained a place for rational thought (but not as a first cause toward any significant outcome).
Pantheistic Monism, however, was simply unconcerned with rational thought altogether; its only concern was to reach an oneness, a “pure consciousness,” which really means “pure being.” God, the cosmos, you, I, chairs, thoughts, whatever (it makes no difference), is all one element; and that element is an impersonal one.
The Eastern Monist would not care that we disagree about doctrine, the cosmos, religion, people or anything; all roads lead to the One. The only thing that would matter is the technique employed to reach Oneness.
Of course, the Christian cannot subscribe to this philosophy for several reasons. First, God is transcendent; that is, He is separate from creation and mankind. Second, God is personal; and man, made in His image, is personal too.
Again it is Sire that said: “In pantheism the chief thing about God is Oneness, a sheer abstract, undifferentiated, nondual unity. This puts God beyond personality.” Man consequently is soon brought beyond personality as well.
The irony inherent within the soul of man is seen in his futile search for meaning from his own perspective; his very soul is oriented incorrectly for such a search, and even if he stumbled over the answer, he would not know it without an outside influence.
That influence is Christ, of course, and Christian Theism. But, the Western world as a whole has rejected Christ and theism; placing themselves at the helm, they drove themselves to the end of themselves.
Seems to me, the negation of self in Nihilism is no less a negation of self in Monism; they both do violence to the reality of what a human being is. The one is too personal and forgets God; the other is too impersonal and forgets man.
I guess all roads—especially wide ones—really do lead to the same place.