Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

East and West -

As I interpret the difference between East and West, it seems to me to be like light which is both particle and wave.  We, in the West, tend to think in particle form, to see ourselves as individuals and to note features in the environment as separate from the background.   Those in the East see life as more of a continuum, a wave;  there is more connection, and therefore harmony is key.   They are more aware of background and relationship differences. 

A good example from this book by Richard Nisbett is this.   Many of us, of a certain age, remember learning to read with Dick and Jane,  and their dog,  Spot.  Dick and Jane were active individualists.   The first sentences are,  "See Dick run.  See Dick play.  See Dick run and play."  The photo is of a young boy running across the lawn.

The first page of a Chinese primer of the same era shows a little boy sitting on the shoulders of a bigger boy.   "Big brother takes care of little brother.  Big brother loves little brother.  Little brother loves big brother."   "It is not individual actions but relationships between people that seem important to convey in a child's first encounter with the printed word."

Of course, Jan's mother and Jan were born in this country and educated in western methods, so that would have a huge effect, and counter-act an upbringing in China.  I am finding the book fascinating, and enjoying seeing how "More than a billion people in the world today claim intellectual inheritance from ancient Greece.  More than two billion are the heirs of ancient Chinese traditions of thought."

It is fun to live in a time when we can become more aware and choose which way of thinking works best, now and now and now.   We are like light, both particle and wave.  We have the advantages of both. 

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