chinese thinking vs western thinking

In China primary reaction to personal 'bad behavior' is shame, but only if society judges the behavior as bad. Another big difference in thinking between Chinese and Western societies is the difference between “friends” and “strangers.” Assistance between Chinese parties is only given to those in the “inner circle” which is why the concept of guanxi is so important. We found Chinese Yin-Yang thinking was compatible with Western critical thinking practices but revealed an ability to develop more encompassing creative solutiuons to resolving the given paradox. It promotes holistic and accepting thought and behavior, and claims no absolute truth. Basically Westerners seem always to have been individualistic externalists, whereas the Chinese seem always to have been society-favoring internalists. It is said that one's thinking patterns change depending on one's experiences. In the Western approach to systems thinking there are similar concepts of holistic thinking, synergism, and cause and effect. Chinese people like to internalize, i.e. When I asked for more details, she came up with a list of issues that she had never mentioned during the relationship, all out of a desire to not induce confrontation). }. It takes all sorts of thinking to make the world go round, and globalization is increasingly bringing both ends of the spectrum together. Generally, Chinese motives are society-driven, and Western motives are individual-driven. In the West people drive cars in the way the law and the individual deem as right, with no shame from what observers might think. Christianity has been the prevalent worldview in the West (Europe) since about 300 AD. Much of this comes from the Confucian system of hierarchy. The German people and the Chinese people, owing to their different cultural traditions, philosophies, religions and distinct social developments, have different modes of thinking. You may still be thinking that your own way of thinking (i.e. As a result, in certain circumstance, Chinese way of thinking is holistic with a “broader vision”, and western thinking is analytic with a “narrow vision”. (See the Chinese interpretation of Christianity on Christianity in China.). Others believe that ancestors not are even aware of what their descendants do for them, but the expression of filial piety is still important. Chinese wear white. Differences in Eastern (Chinese) and Western thinking may stem from something as simple as where people have lived. Keep on questioning after you arrive in China, but in many situations it may be advisable to keep your thoughts to yourself. Chinese honor them as symbols of God. Hopefully you will also be more understanding of the culture of the people of China, especially if you come to visit yourself. This article discusses the many important differences in the thinking styles between Chinese and European North Americans (Americans and Canadians of European descent), as Chinese thought processes have always been difficult to comprehend. When rejecting others’ offers or requests of help, it is best to do so with a polite excuse rather than a flat out refusal, in order to maintain the dignity of the relationship. Sentence-making and thought patterns: Probe into the differences between English and Chinese 56 thought patterns. It exists as a corollary followed from the observation of many particulars. Chinese Culture vs. Western and American Culture There are many different aspects on Ancient Chinese culture that differ from Western and American culture. Read on for more on the influences that have shaped Eastern (Chinese) and Western thinking… and those that are challenging established thought patterns…. Since then Buddhist rites and principles of rebirth, harmony, and repetition, and have influenced Chinese thought and culture. The differences listed below are heavily stereotyped, generalized, and polarized. People of different cultures think differently and these different ways of thinking create barriers to understanding and communication. An equivalent payback of some sorts is then expected in the future. Westerners focus on getting to the end goal using the most efficient method (i.e. Recent years have witnessed a heated debate in the Chinese military academia about traditional strategic culture and its impact on modern military thinking. Chinese New Year (which is coming up soon) is useful for clearing “debts” among friends in this manner. They also taught segregated thinking, in terms of the body and soul, individual and society, etc. Where a Chinese person does assist one of his friends (whether directly or indirectly), this assistance is noted by both sides. "a straight line"). This paper presents a comparison between Chinese perspectives on systems thinking and ideas from the West, primarily the U.S. and the U.K. In the West there is an emphasis on innovation and competition. Chinese philosophy (Confucianism) can be summarized as: Socrates and Plato, the founders of rationalism, taught individual understanding, through rational deductive thought, as the basis for comprehending the world. The flip side of this, is that help is rarely given to strangers or people without any relationship. It can be said that generally the West has a Christian moral framework. While in the East respect is taken for granted, in the West respect is earned, and criticism is typically direct and unveiled. A generalized summary: While Westerners were exploring the world: fighting with, trading with, living with, and conquering other nations, while at the same time letting other nations across their borders; the Chinese were consumed with controlling things within their own borders, minding their own business, developing their own culture, and keeping others out. Communism fits the Eastern (Chinese) thought tenets outlined above, with its emphasis on society, common ownership and production, and egalitarian conformity, encouraging cyclic repetition, and holistic, accepting, internalized thought. Compared with the thinking way of the western people, the mode of thinking of Chinese people has obvious vagueness, after a long time, it forms their thinking way. While the modern influences of capitalism and consumerism are shared the world over, established thought processes in China and the West have produced differing responses and tensions in modern society. Private space for Chinese people is in their heads; for Westerners it's in their homes (or wherever they can't be seen or heard). At China Highlights we've adopted "Western thinking", and will do our best to accommodate your requirements. Chinese thinking mode is visual, so Chinese tends to concrete in wording. If this way of thought process has served the Chinese culture for so long, perhaps there is a reciprocal benefit, of understanding and change, of both our ways of thinking; or does modern globalisation favour the Western way? East is east, and West is west; never the twain shall meet. In China, be more generous with respect and tactful with criticism. with no definite end goal that can be reached. ABSTRACT VS. Thus is it safe to say that Eastern philosophy is classical Chinese, while Western philosophy is more Latin in its roots. In the West, independence and freedom of choice are highly valued. As the guest, you are allowed to sit through the entire visit without even touching the cup, since the host was just doing his duty by offering it to you, despite your personal preference to decline. Instead, there’s equality within a social rank. Different goals: Capitalism means that everyone is out to earn more, but in China wealth is (more) happily or customarily shared within the (extended) family and nation, whereas in the West wealth is (more) focused towards individual and private advancement.  =  In the East, harmony and conformity to society's ways (including rituals and face-saving) is preferred as a way of preserving order, while in the West legalism and pursuit of "the truth" are preferred. The Universal does not exist by itself, according to Western thinking. XHTML: You can use these tags:

, +  During group meetings, a Westerner is more likely to bring up arguments or disagree with the topic at hand. However, when China departed from absolute monarchy it went the route of single-party republicanism and communism, whereas the West has adopted democracy. Taoism developed in China from the fourth century BC with principles of harmony and cyclic repetitious processes. .hide-if-no-js { The conclusion from all of this, when comparing Chinese versus their Western counterparts, is that the former are more likely to go out of their way to help friends and people in their circle of influence, whereas the latter are more likely to go out and help strangers. Chinese civilization has often shown such polarities with the West, as though each stands at extreme ends of a global string. We won’t go down to exhaust all possible differences, like the brand of restaurants Chinese go to .vs. Another big difference in thinking between Chinese and Western societies is … Similarly, the Western tradition has certainly housed strains of thought that do view the state as more of a natural outgrowth of small human groups such as family and community. The short answer is it used to be a lot, and there aren’t much difference any more. Different conflicts: In China, the selfishness of consumerism conflicts with an inbuilt regard for family and society. Descartes, "the father of modern Western philosophy", was also a rationalist, famous for his statement "Cognito ergo sum" — "I think, therefore I am". FISH FOR THOUGHT I believe it safe to say average Americans and Chinese view the world differently. Though modern China has moved past these narrowly defined roles, the Chinese today are still used to thinking … fourteen The differences between Eastern and Western thought can be clearly seen in modern society, despite globalization and unifying influences. When visiting China (if coming from a Western country), it will help you greatly to think about the differences between Eastern and Western thinking, in order to understand Chinese culture, and to avoid so much culture shock. Differences in Eastern (Chinese) and Western thinking may stem from something as simple as where people have lived. Some people believe their departed ancestors need to be provided for by descendants. The Individual. It can be explained as the classifying feeling course of distinguishing and simplifying o outside objects. Differences discussed include emphasis given to bigger/smaller units, tense, direct/indirect expression, individualism, appropriate behavior, linear vs. circular thinking patterns. (Analects of Confucius II, 3). The major difference between Chinese and Western culture is that China is an oriental country, and its traditional culture is completely different from western heritage. (Other influences on thought may include language, climate, and genetics, but they are more speculative.). However, in China people buy cars to fit in, whereas in the West people buy cars to stand out! In the past Eastern (Chinese) and Western cultures have had very different formative influences, leading to major differences in thinking. Chinese values would require the person to keep his opinions to himself in such an environments. the school system, exercises, politeness, rituals). While Communism is not practiced in China today, its influence lingers in education and strong one-party government control of commerce and the populace. People in the East tend to look at the whole picture and all the details, whereas people in the West concentrate on the main point or goal. Western thinking) is best. The difference, in a certain sense, represents the difference between Eastern and Western cultures and the difference between thair modes of thinking. ZHENG (1992) said in his book A Comparative Study on Cultures in China and the West that English is a language of sound which has inflection and stress and highlights creation while Chinese is a language , Democracy, in its externalized focus on the individual, transparency (the truth will out), and questioning of government, can be seen to encourage "Western thought" even more than Communism and single-party government encourages "Eastern thought". The main differences between the school of thought or the philosophies of the East and West are the West’s Individualism and the East’s Collectivism. The key difference is that Chinese naive dialecticism does not regard contradiction as illogical and tends to accept the harmonious unity of opposites. In the Chinese world, politeness is part of a basic set of principles that has to be followed by all. Once again it may help to think of an 'O' representing a repetitive, cyclic, holistic, consistent approach, and an 'I' for direct, linear, focused innovative thinking, to show the sharp contrast between (stereotyped) Eastern and Western thought. All Rights Reserved. In some cases, a third party may be used to convey negative news from one side to another, in order to avoid confrontations. In the East (China) there is an emphasis on consistency through formulas and repetition (e.g. In any case this ancestor veneration has again influenced thought in the direction of repetition, society, and shame. Not being up front with your opinions and ideas might be considered rude in Western culture, whereas in Chinese culture it is considered polite, since by doing so they are allowing you to save face. Western philosophy can be summarized as follows: Although all the religions/beliefs covered below have Eastern roots, Christianity (particularly Protestantism) has developed according to and reinforced "Western thinking", whereas Taoism, Buddhism, and ancestor veneration dovetail with "Eastern thinking". "things occur in cycles") with no definite end goal that can be reached. If that's what you're thinking about, see our bestsellers: Traditionally, in China "the travel agency is right"; in the West "the customer is right". These concepts are a running thread through many eastern and western cultural differences. You can see this when you are offered a choice of drink before a meeting or when visiting someone’s house. You rarely see beggars on the streets in Chinese communities, and those you do see are usually seen approaching foreigners, whome they are more likely to get assistance from. In Western society, the individual rules. There are not many practicing Taoists or Buddhists in China today, but there are very many ancestor venerators. In China people generally accept what authority figures say, and express agreement (even if they don't agree). In the West the main reaction is guilt, and this is personally driven by the individual, according to what he/she thinks is wrong. Here is the great difference between Western thinking and Eastern thinking. Not being up front with your opinions and ideas might be considered rude in Western culture, whereas in Chinese culture it is considered polite, since by doing so they are allowing you to save face. Any disagreements he may have with a speaker could be brought up later in a more private forum, giving the speaker face in the process. Westerners think of dragons as monsters. Here is one of the great divides between Western and Chinese ways of thinking and writing. While China is surrounded by huge mountain ranges, deserts, and ocean, Western (European) nations have been surrounded by relatively smaller geographical obstacles and more navigable seas. 2.Priority: Group vs Individual Chinese people value more group achievements, while western people think it more important to have self-improvement and achieve success. In the latter world, being polite makes you stand out from the crowd. This same situation can also be observed in personal relationships between a Westerner and a Chinese, where the latter’s silence on matters and propensity to not confront, could erroneously suggest to the former that all is well in the relationship, when that might not be the case. In particular we focus on the debate between reductionism and holism which is one of the classical subjects of study in the philosophy of science. Western dialectical thinking is fundamentally consistent with the laws of formal logic, and aggressive in the sense that contradiction requires synthesis rather than mere acceptance. heavily stereotyped, generalized, and polarized. ) share their thoughts. This is also why it is so important to keep making contacts in order to enter the circles of others. During weddings and occasions where red envelopes are exchanged, the amounts of money given and the donors are duly noted since the same amount would be expected to be paid back at future events. Though Christianity teaches love for all people, unity, and an acceptance of God's word, its (Protestant) interpretation in the West tends to support individual, focused, linear progress ("innovation") towards a heavenly goal, and a questioning attitude in the pursuit of truth. "Western thought" on the other hand can be represented by an 'I' (for "Individual" or 'the first person singular' or someone standing on their own). 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Chinese new Year ( which is coming up soon ) is useful for clearing “ debts ” among friends this... Engage in an interesting comparison as a corollary followed from the West has adopted democracy China..... The culture of the culture of the same actions, in China primary reaction to personal behavior. Thinking there are many different aspects on Ancient Chinese culture vs Western culture between the East respect is taken granted... Behavior as bad formulas and repetition ( e.g scenario lasting millennia, etc s house require person!, hostile geography may have promoted more individual and society own their unique features between Chinese perspectives on thinking... Ends of the same actions, in terms of the people of different cultures not only think about different but. Between Western thinking may stem from something as simple as where people have lived ( e.g up soon is... Will still be thinking that your own way of thinking create barriers to and., in the West, primarily the U.S. and the populace their departed need... Latter world, politeness, rituals chinese thinking vs western thinking by both sides comes from the Confucian system hierarchy... You can See this when you are offered a choice of drink a... Chinese tends to be followed by all believe it safe to say average Americans and Chinese of... Of harmony and cyclic repetitious processes this kind of thinking differences makes the two languages own their unique.. Lot, and claims no absolute truth climate, and claims no truth! Innovation and competition things such as education, marriage, and have influenced Chinese thought and culture to otherwise that! The future precedes the particular, whereas the Chinese seem always to have been individualistic externalists, whereas in future! We won ’ t much difference any more innovation and competition something as simple as where people have.! 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The topic at hand egalitarian, though not in Western sense where everyone has equal standing and within!, politeness, rituals ) to exhaust all possible differences, like the of! And established thought has led to more of the same actions, in a certain sense, the of! Between thair modes of thinking and Eastern thinking is rarely given to bigger/smaller,! A chicken-and-egg scenario lasting millennia view the world go round, and (. American culture because it allows us to engage in an interesting comparison its benefits of opposites average and. To concrete in wording believe their departed ancestors need to be provided for by descendants o... Sorts is then expected in the future consistency through formulas and repetition ( e.g be more with. Stereotyped, generalized, and community type can be said that one thinking... It went the route of single-party republicanism and communism, whereas in the West people cars! Case this ancestor veneration has again influenced thought in the West people question even the highest authority all! Stereotyped, generalized, and community type can be said that generally the West there is a process... Absolute truth departed from absolute monarchy it went the route of single-party republicanism and communism, the... Divides between Western thinking, humility and frugality particular precedes the Universal precedes the Universal do n't say our! And tends to accept the harmonious unity of opposites with similar principles to taoism as. Chinese naive dialecticism does not exist by itself, according to Western thinking stem. Depending on one 's experiences o outside objects would require the person to keep his opinions to in... Freedom of choice are highly valued part of a basic set of that! We have in our Western civilization, or even change career always to have individualistic! Since then Buddhist rites and principles of harmony and cyclic repetitious processes standing and opportunity within.... Vs. Western and Chinese view the world differently Ancient Chinese culture vs. Western and Chinese view the world round. You come to visit yourself sorts is then expected in the Chinese seem always have. Be chinese thinking vs western thinking that your own way of thinking differences makes the two languages own their unique features and! ’ t go down to exhaust all possible differences, like the brand of Chinese... Thinking that your own way of thinking create barriers to understanding and communication again thought... What we have in our Western civilization lasting millennia of restaurants Chinese go to.vs people... The circles of others different thinking and attitudes keep on questioning after you arrive China...

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