East and West
Though admiring of some aspects of Oriental thought (for example, belief in incarnation), Barfield's thought is through and through western, as the following sharp distinction between East and West (from Worlds Apart) make apparent: "The Oriental way is to become unborn again. The Occidental way is to grow up" (181).1

For Barfield, "The transition from East to West--the transition of the centre of gravity of civilization from East to West--signified the change that was taking place in human consciousness from awareness of a sort of residual participation in the Divine Mind, or creative Spirit, to an awareness only of exclusion from that participation" (UV 100). In their epistemes, East is East and West is West:

The Western outlook is based essentially on [the] turning of man's attention to the phenomena. which [I have called] alpha-thinking. This is sharply contrasted with the oriental impulse (still heard echoing on in Plato) to refrain from the phenomena, to remain, as it were, in the bosom of the Eternal, to disregard as irrelevant to man's true being, all that, in his experience, which is based on "the contacts of the senses." Oriental philosophy, hardly distinguishable from oriental theology, is based, above all, on a determination to regard the sense-world as Maya, or illusion. It was for this reason that, on its rediscovery in the nineteenth century, it made such a strong appeal to the few who were by then becoming dimly aware that the enlightenment of the West is based on idolatry. It is clear, however, that the way of the West lies, not back but forward; not in withdrawal from the contacts of the senses, but in their transformation and redemption. (SA 148)
East and West thus seek after very different forms of consciousness:
For the Eastern sage liberation from ordinary consciousness and the attainment of a-consciousness entail, in effect, the absorption of ordinary consciousness. Whereas the true Western impulse is rather to add extraordinary consciousness to ordinary consciousness.    . . . the impulse of the West is toward liberation by 'vision" rather than liberation by absorption. (RM 29)
The essential difference between East and West remains their respective orientation to time and history.
The Oriental conception of time [Barfield explains in Saving the Appearances] was essentially cyclic. The picture was one of eternal repetition rather than of beginning, progress and end, and the path of the individual soul to the bosom of eternity was a backward path of extrication from the wheels of desire in which it allowed itself to become involved. To reach, or to resume, the Supreme Identity with Brahma, with the Eternal, was the object and its achievement was a matter which lay directly between the individual and the Eternal. The Semitic way, on the other hand, was a way forward through history and it was a way, shared indeed by the individual, but trodden by the nation as a whole. (SA 150)2
But Barfield does not entirely rule out some kind of reciprocal interchange or cross-pollination between East and West and even offers a metaphoric way of understanding such a possibility: "Perhaps one could use an electrical metaphor and speak of East and West as two sources of potential energy and of the spark that unites, or the current that flows, as a result of their momentary juxtaposition" (RM 79). Moreover, he imagines the two mind-sets able to teach something of supreme importance to each other:
I would suggest that the East will only understand its own "path" in the terms demanded of our own time, if it learns to link to its own tradition all that the West has been developing as history; and conversely I hold it equally true that the West will only understand its own history--its own child, as it were--by learning to interpret it in terms of a "progress," somewhat resembling that Eastern "path" of the individual soul from terrestrial to divine. (RM 259)
See in particular Unancestral Voice, Chaps. 7 & 8, "From East to West" (RCA 7-24).
1"We seem faced . . . ," Barfield acknowledges in "Where is Fancy Bred," "with such a close and constant interpenetration [of East and West] as may lead to something like a single homogenous culture over the whole face of the globe-under the predominance no doubt (at least in its early stages) of Western tradition and Western impulse" (RM 79-80).
2In Unancestral Voice, the Meggid puts this distinction into Anthroposophical language:
    He saw, then, the consciousness of the East, with its predominately cyclic concept of time, stretching backward into the mists of antiquity and pre-history, and that of the West, with its contrasted linear concept, stretching forward into the future. So much for the generalization. . . . He saw the West striving, how vigorously, to repudiate the transformation which had brought it to birth, to expunge the past ouf of which it had grown, and to snap the link with its own youth, its own former being. But even more clearly than this he saw . . . the East struggling to preserve itself intact from the appointed transformation. Yet in the same moment he was aware, thanks to the Meggid, that it was not the West itself that was struggling to deny transformation; it was Ahriman. And it was not the East itself that was willing to defy transformation; it was Lucifer. (84-85)