Differences in Eastern (Chinese) and Western thinking may stem from something as simple as where people have lived. 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. ABSTRACT VS. .hide-if-no-js { It promotes holistic and accepting thought and behavior, and claims no absolute truth. This is because it allows us to engage in an interesting comparison. Harmony is considered more important than pointing out faults, so, when a fault must be mentioned, great care is taken to avoid giving offense. 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. The short answer is it used to be a lot, and there aren’t much difference any more. share their thoughts. Some people believe their departed ancestors need to be provided for by descendants. "Lead the people with administrative injunctions and put them in their place with penal law, and they will avoid punishments but will be without a sense of shame. Chinese civilization has often shown such polarities with the West, as though each stands at extreme ends of a global string. This article tries to analyze and explain the differences between Chinese and Western military traditions from a philosophical perspective. The forces of capitalism are now driving competition and innovation in China, which often goes against the grain, and consistency is also a goal in the West, but more difficult to achieve there. XHTML: You can use these tags:
, +  They feel a strong sense of unity. A Christian worldview includes a belief in absolute truth: one God created us all and has standards that apply to all people, and guilt is experienced if God's standards are not met. Taoism developed in China from the fourth century BC with principles of harmony and cyclic repetitious processes. 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". In the Western approach to systems thinking there are similar concepts of holistic thinking, synergism, and cause and effect. 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. Descartes, "the father of modern Western philosophy", was also a rationalist, famous for his statement "Cognito ergo sum" — "I think, therefore I am". Understanding this culture is very valuable in determining where assistance should be given to others, as well as what is expected of you if you receive it. Chinese honor them as symbols of God. fourteen Differences in Eastern (Chinese) and Western thinking may stem from something as simple as where people have lived. In one sense, the Confucian ethic is egalitarian, though not in Western sense where everyone has equal standing and opportunity within society. In the West people question even the highest authority figures… all the time… and often quite openly. 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. Different motives: Consumerism means that e.g. Any deviation from these principles makes you stand out in a negative way. (See the Chinese interpretation of Christianity on Christianity in China.). Chinese values would require the person to keep his opinions to himself in such an environments. 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. The Individual. Westerners focus on getting to the end goal using the most efficient method (i.e. 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. That is why Westerners have expressed serious curiosity about and appreciation of the philosophical endeavours of the Chinese and the cognitive … 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. (Personal note: I have experienced this first hand, when a former girlfriend broke up with me out of the blue, when I thought all was well. Though modern China has moved past these narrowly defined roles, the Chinese today are still used to thinking … 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. While in the East respect is taken for granted, in the West respect is earned, and criticism is typically direct and unveiled. In China people generally accept what authority figures say, and express agreement (even if they don't agree). The German people and the Chinese people, owing to their different cultural traditions, philosophies, religions and distinct social developments, have different modes of 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. In the East, the Universal precedes the particular, whereas in the West, the particular precedes the Universal. It is also common for people to not stop and help others during vehicle accidents, so as not to get involved with people they don’t know. 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. Chinese thinking mode is visual, so Chinese tends to concrete in wording. Chinese wear white. Chinese people like to internalize, i.e. Differences discussed include emphasis given to bigger/smaller units, tense, direct/indirect expression, individualism, appropriate behavior, linear vs. circular thinking patterns. Westerners have a strong sense of what is right and wrong, and want to know what the "truth" of a situation is. 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. For Chinese there is a recurring process of improvement (i.e. It is said that one's thinking patterns change depending on one's experiences. "a straight line"). The founders of the contrasting philosophies of Confucianism and Rationalism all lived around 500 BC, but in quite different environments, as discussed above. These concepts are a running thread through many eastern and western cultural differences. 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. In the West the main reaction is guilt, and this is personally driven by the individual, according to what he/she thinks is wrong. 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. 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. Buddhism arrived in China in the first century AD, with similar principles to Taoism. Chinese Culture vs Western Culture Between the Chinese culture and Western culture, we can identify a number of differences. Generally, Chinese motives are society-driven, and Western motives are individual-driven. Christianity has been the prevalent worldview in the West (Europe) since about 300 AD. While Communism is not practiced in China today, its influence lingers in education and strong one-party government control of commerce and the populace. 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). When it comes to etiquette and ways of doing things, there are some key differences between how the Chinese operate versus how Westerners do so. Even if you politely decline, you will still be offered tea as the default. During group meetings, a Westerner is more likely to bring up arguments or disagree with the topic at hand. In the West, the indulgence of consumerism goes against the moral and rational virtues of simplicity and prudence, humility and frugality. Many things such as education, marriage, and community type can be different from what we have in our Western civilization. Sentence-making and thought patterns: Probe into the differences between English and Chinese 56 thought patterns. "Eastern thought" can be represented by an 'O' (for "Our" or a ring of people linking hands). 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. Much of this comes from the Confucian system of hierarchy. If one wishes to discern meanings in Chinese discourse, one must often look to the silences, the hesitations, the circumlocutions, diversions, and euphemisms. Until recent centuries, Eastern and Western nations were all governed by a single ruler (and this tended to promote "Eastern thought").  =  Read on for more on the influences that have shaped Eastern (Chinese) and Western thinking… and those that are challenging established thought patterns…. Actions have reinforced thought patterns, and established thought has led to more of the same actions, in a chicken-and-egg scenario lasting millennia. In the past Eastern (Chinese) and Western cultures have had very different formative influences, leading to major differences in thinking. In Western society, the individual rules. Others believe that ancestors not are even aware of what their descendants do for them, but the expression of filial piety is still important. Different conflicts: In China, the selfishness of consumerism conflicts with an inbuilt regard for family and society. "everyone must have a car to feel good". It takes all sorts of thinking to make the world go round, and globalization is increasingly bringing both ends of the spectrum together. Basically Westerners seem always to have been individualistic externalists, whereas the Chinese seem always to have been society-favoring internalists. Instead, there’s equality within a social rank. (Analects of Confucius II, 3). display: none !important; with no definite end goal that can be reached. 5 Cultural Differences between East and West 1. You can see this when you are offered a choice of drink before a meeting or when visiting someone’s house. In some cases, a third party may be used to convey negative news from one side to another, in order to avoid confrontations. CONCRETE THINKING AND ENGLISH WRITING Generally speaking, the thinking mode of westerners tends to be abstract while Chinese thinking is always concrete. While China is surrounded by huge mountain ranges, deserts, and ocean , Western (European) nations have been surrounded by relatively smaller geographical obstacles and … Since then Buddhist rites and principles of rebirth, harmony, and repetition, and have influenced Chinese thought and culture. Isolated, hostile geography may have contributed to insular thinking, and accessible geography may have promoted more individual and externalized thinking. The key difference is that Chinese naive dialecticism does not regard contradiction as illogical and tends to accept the harmonious unity of opposites. 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”. }. 2. You may still be thinking that your own way of thinking (i.e. However, in China people buy cars to fit in, whereas in the West people buy cars to stand out! Not all Chinese (or Westerners) think this way, but these are observed tendencies. This paper presents a comparison between Chinese perspectives on systems thinking and ideas from the West, primarily the U.S. and the U.K. The usual Western way is … Thus is it safe to say that Eastern philosophy is classical Chinese, while Western philosophy is more Latin in its roots. the west. 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. There are not many practicing Taoists or Buddhists in China today, but there are very many ancestor venerators. Understanding this nature within Chinese people is important, since it is easy to otherwise assume that their silence indicates agreement. Chinese have a strong system of respect. © 2020 ChineseLearnOnline.com. The differences between Eastern and Western thought can be clearly seen in modern society, despite globalization and unifying influences. Chinese New Year (which is coming up soon) is useful for clearing “debts” among friends in this manner. 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. 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. It can be said that generally the West has a Christian moral framework. 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. 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. It exists as a corollary followed from the observation of many particulars. Here is the great difference between Western thinking and Eastern thinking. 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. With us you can have a tour tailor-made from your requests. 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. An equivalent payback of some sorts is then expected in the future. Some differences between Western and Chinese thought patterns are highlighted to help language teachers better prepare teaching strategies for Chinese-speaking students. At China Highlights we've adopted "Western thinking", and will do our best to accommodate your requirements. Different behavior: In China, for example, people drive cars in the way (local) society deems okay, with no guilt regarding the law. This kind of thinking differences makes the two languages own their unique features. "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). Basically there are four ancient influences (geography, history, philosophy, and religion) and three modern influences (government, capitalism, and consumerism). Here is one of the great divides between Western and Chinese ways of thinking and writing. FISH FOR THOUGHT I believe it safe to say average Americans and Chinese view the world differently. They also taught segregated thinking, in terms of the body and soul, individual and society, etc. East is east, and West is west; never the twain shall meet. This is also why it is so important to keep making contacts in order to enter the circles of others. 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. In the Chinese world, politeness is part of a basic set of principles that has to be followed by all. Chinese vs Western Culture. Where a Chinese person does assist one of his friends (whether directly or indirectly), this assistance is noted by both sides. Differences in Eastern (Chinese) and Western thinking may stem from something as simple as where people have lived. 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. In the West there is an emphasis on innovation and competition. People of different cultures think differently and these different ways of thinking create barriers to understanding and communication. It might surprise you how people from two different cultures can have such different thinking and attitudes! In the East (China) there is an emphasis on consistency through formulas and repetition (e.g. Recent years have witnessed a heated debate in the Chinese military academia about traditional strategic culture and its impact on modern military thinking. 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. In the West, independence and freedom of choice are highly valued. 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. Another big difference in thinking between Chinese and Western societies is … 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". keep their thoughts to themselves. Chinese Culture vs. Western and American Culture There are many different aspects on Ancient Chinese culture that differ from Western and American culture. This means people who grow up in different cultures not only think about different things but also think differently. Westerners think of dragons as monsters. In China, many people are prepared to do things for the good of society. 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 like to externalize, i.e. Keep on questioning after you arrive in China, but in many situations it may be advisable to keep your thoughts to yourself. The flip side of this, is that help is rarely given to strangers or people without any relationship. The Universal does not exist by itself, according to Western thinking. Try out an online course to discover a new hobby, learn a new language, or even change career. 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. Thus China has become "the factory of the world" and the West has become "the world's driving force for progress and innovation". How to Deal with Culture Shock in China More Easily, 10 Facts to Help You Understand Chinese Culture, China's Development — How It Affects You, the Tourist, 10 Facts To Help You Understand Chinese People, Giant Pandas — All the Things You Want to Know. Negative way have lived differences, like the brand of restaurants Chinese go to.vs has developed and appreciate! Certain sense, represents the difference between thair modes of thinking create to! People have lived vs Western culture, we can identify a number of differences can a! Article, you will also be more generous with respect and tactful with criticism people who up. And communism, whereas the West, chinese thinking vs western thinking indulgence of consumerism conflicts with an inbuilt for... 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