The Differences Between Eastern and Western Cultures
Last Updated On: September 24, 2019 by admin
Eastern culture includes Asia and the Middle East, while the western world includes South and North America, European countries, New Zealand and Australia. The East and West have many differences based on their culture which is reflected in people’s attitude and behaviour.
When a comparison between eastern and western culture is made, one of the key differences between western and eastern culture is that countries in the West are more liberal than countries in the East. Western culture allows people to be more open and critical. They discuss subjects that are considered taboo in eastern cultures and they are allowed to show their emotions and vent anger if they think they should. This sort of behaviour wouldn’t take place in eastern cultures. People prefer to approach difficult situations by using good manners and tact, not aggression.
A second eastern and western culture comparison is a person from the West is more free and flexible to reach decisions on his/her own, unlike what happens in the East where families make more decisions collectively. Thirdly, arranged marriages are not a key feature of western cultures, as love is considered to be the way that people tie the marital knot.
Can there ever be similarities between eastern and western culture?
Many schools of thought believe that there is not enough common ground between eastern and western cultures for them to ever share similar characteristics. There are some features that are so different, like the types of religions in eastern cultures, such as Islam, Hinduism, Shenism, Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism. Clothing and rituals are so different in eastern cultures, like Indians paying respect to parents or elders by touching his/her feet. East Asians bow down as a gesture used when welcoming guests, saying thank you and apologizing. When it comes to ideologies and beliefs, eastern cultures find it difficult to question them despite what they might really feel. In contrast, most people can forsake religion and no one will think anything of it.
Elders are the decision-makers in eastern cultures
The difference between western and eastern culture can be seen by looking at the role of elders. In eastern cultures, elders are the leaders in the home, so children do what the elders say without questioning them. Any important decisions to do with a child are generally made by an elder. When parents grow old, children are often the ones who take on the responsibility for caring for them. Often in western cultures, an elderly person’s welfare becomes the responsibility of the state in collaboration with children or other close relatives.
Arranged marriages commonly take place in eastern cultures. They are usually arranged by a couple’s parents or another elder. They believe that love follows marriage, not the other way round.
Education has few similarities between eastern and western cultures
The comparison between eastern and western culture shows that western education focuses on creativity and allows individuals to develop as much as they can. In Eastern education, achievement is linked to struggle and hard work. This means you can achieve anything if you work hard enough. Students from eastern cultures often excel academically when in a western educational environment because they work harder than western children.
Students in western culture are encouraged to actively participate in debates and ask questions. This is not so much the case in eastern cultures where what the teacher says is always right. Added to this is the extra effort in western cultures to integrate children who are classified as special needs. They sit in classrooms alongside other students. This doesn’t often happen in eastern cultures where special needs children are taught separately.
Overall, when a comparison between eastern and western culture is made at this point in time, there is not a lot that the two cultures have in common but each should be respected for what they stand for and achieve.