...This article was written almost 6 months prior to ''Cultural programming in China"...
…Thoughts of … A Westerner in Asia…
Having spent some time in Asia, I have had the opportunity to contrast
Asia, with the West. Of course my observations are personal and subjective, but I have tried to investigate without bias.
So… What qualifies me to make valid observations?
First; I have been an Educator for many years. I was a Substitute Teacher in American schools, grades K-12 for more than 10 years. After
That I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for more than 10 years.
Second; Before I went to Asia, I qualified to be an Investigator for a Public Defenders Office, in an American city in California.
Third; I have extensive experience working with Special Populations.
i.e. The developmentally disabled and the mentally impaired.
Western people perceive the world and reality as outside of themselves. It is something to be experienced and studied, to understand. The reality of the world/
Nature can be strange, wonderful, and yet exciting. Western psychology is beginning to realize that we “color” reality by the filters of our thoughts and beliefs
We project our thoughts and beliefs onto reality… In this way, our reality can be
positive or negative.
I believe (now) that Eastern people experience reality a bit differently from Western people. Westerners explore reality individually, so they can understand it personally.
On the other hand, Eastern people appear to view reality as a group consensus, or
construct. In other words, to the Eastern person, reality (the world) must be what
most of them agree to believe in…
Therefore.. When someone or something does not fit into their world view, (reality)
It must be judged as “negative”. From my observation, Easterners appear to attempt to “label” phenomenon, in an attempt to understand and control it.
To “labe”l is to reinforce. (the belief system) Reinforcement is achieved by agreement with others… “If you and I agree, it <must>be true”…
I have observed the “reinforcements’ in everyday observation of Eastern people.
By reinforcement, things are expected to run smoothly… if something does not run
Smoothly, it must be an anomaly. (deviation) If it is an anomaly, it must be negative.
Many modern Easterners do not believe in God or an invisible spirit that underlies reality. Because they may believe that this is mere superstition, they might feel that
their (mutual) conception of reality is superior to the Western world view.
Perhaps they even believe that many of the social troubles of the West are a result of wrong thinking and religious misconceptions.
Easterners are very social centered… Pragmatic… “Down to earth”…
Whereas, they may perceive many Westerners as idealistic, perhaps naive
or even silly…
Several Eastern people have said to me, “<Eastern> people are (very) complex,
Western people are (very) simple”…
Interestingly enough, one of the definitions of “simple” in English is: stupid or mentally retarded. More interesting…The old (archaic) meaning of “simple” is: free from guile: innocent
These are just some of my personal observations from informal investigation.
These observations are continuing an ongoing...