[This post is transferred from another blog I had.]
A recurrent theme in some recent conoversations has been the contrast of approaches to education and thought in the East and West: holisitc and integrated vs. linear and fragmented.
For example, consider someone making a business proposal as explained to me by my step-brother. An American might be more prone to present a linear argument with reasons #1, #2 and #3 in support of its supperiority. A Chinese might more likely explore the many cultural and socioeconomic implications of a decision, and only then bring it home to a suggestion with a wide foundation. The results of applying the later method in consultative decision making at all levels of society are surely much greater than I can fathom, much less express, at the moment.
It isn’t suprising to me that Western thought can be so unilateral. The writing format I was taught in high school consisted of thesis, reason, reason, reason, and reiterated thesis. Whoa, I feel dirty! I’ve been to load opinion after opinion into a machine gun, then press the trigger to mow down the competition. We are taught to assume that we are the highest authority on a subject and to persuade others of what we think.
(I wonder how common this has been for others.)
Where is the encouragement and empowerment to continually seek legitimate truth before trying to convice others of a preconceived notion? The former is an essential aspect of a life that fosters the betterment of humanity. The later is an antiquated habit that must be replaced by collaboration.