East vs. West

The prime difference between cultures of East (most of Asia) & West (most of Caucasia) is how the age is viewed & treated.

East respects its elders as a fundamental cultural axiom. This deep inculcation extrapolates to valuing traditions & finding solace in ancient glories, real or imagined. Myth & history merge. Bottomline is that a skewed focus on past dominates and even the current or future is interpreted in a framework of bygone references.

West, in contrast, is forward looking. Rather than simply hand down the cultural baton from one  generation to next, it expects each generation to renew its culture whether in arts, technology, lifestyle &/or sciences.

Western culture thus is always work in progress. That makes it unstable & tumultuous but keeps it fresh & alive. East, in contrast, may stagnate. River roars while the lake is calm & serene. The difference is between flow & relative stillness. 

Cultures get passed on via parenting. When the teenager rebels, East tends to induce conformity by labelling the act as disrespectful. West may get worried that the child might be a wimp if upon attaining adolsecence he/she does not challenge authority. In such a case, the child is goaded to assert, to not be afraid to throw his best punch even if that invites a harder blow in return.

In East, children are provided a secure, warm, comforting environment right at the onset.  West does not mollycoddle as much and lets the child experience his aloneness & bears the discomfort of the child’s initial pain that is thus caused.

My brevity is due to non-interactivity on this blog…I could go on…the reason this subject is important is because it has a major impact on the nature of leadership that a society produces.

The simple fact is that in the past 500 years, almost all that can be bracketed under “progress” has been created / invented / discovered by West. East consoles itself  by digging out what its societies did thousands years ago.

We have had a long run of being mere spectators in a world that is not being created by us. To turn the tide, we got to look ahead. To prepare generations that could do so, we ought to shift focus from past to future. From old to young. From ancestors to inheritors. And it all starts with how we rear our offspring.

More, should you comment….

3 Responses to “East vs. West”

  1. Prashant Dogra says:

    since you typed progress in quote-unquote — that says it all. the western notion of “progress” is untenable, and will soon need to be ramped down

    while west is definitely forward looking, but given the effect it has on to the so caled quest for progress, soon such a “forward looking” will need a big time tempering with “philosophy” which only east can provide.

    for example, east respects nature…….while west abuses it. and now even east is looking only to blindly emulate west — which will be disastrous for earth

    both sides need to learn from each other

    your article points that its only ewast wihch needs to learn from the west. thats certainly not the case

  2. barun says:

    I first realised this issue of culture of age, at first hand, when many years ago, an elderly American professor had insisted that I call him by his first name. And I was so surprised and shocked, that it took me a while to get used to actually addressing him by his first name. I too think that this desire to equalise the field plays a role in encouraging people to question the authority of age, and enabling them to enjoy the freedom to explore new ideas.
    Japan is a first world country in any way one looks at it. A technological superpower, yet it is a net royalty payer to the rest of the world on the various intellectual property that it uses from other developed countries. And I used to think that this respect for age has held Japan back from becoming a fore bearer of change, at least in science and technology.

  3. Vikram Jit Singh says:

    A prescient piece. I think naveen is deadright in the need for socieities to question age, authority, ancient wisdom because time discards everything.

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