Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Talk to Ohio

This is my second time came to America, but it's the first time to Ohio and to learn in the American classroom. Though this trip is not end yet, I still learn a lot so far.

The day we went to Air Force Museum is a big day as others. But I want to mention it. because it leave me a perfect impression. On the way back from the AFM, I talk to Pete about the difference between China and America. And the point of this is focused on the individuality and harmony.

As everyone knows that American uphold individuality and freedom. While in China, president Hu has just talked about harmony. These two thing are different absolutely. I can't tell which is better cause they both have two sides.

Pete thinks that people in America perusing individuality & freedom is not a bad thing. But now there may be too much individuality. And because of that, people think they can do everything they want. Then there come lots of problems of society, since individuality may cause lots of conflicts, right? So the society's harmony which was talked by Hu should be taken into consideration.

While I think people in China are not as creative as in America. We do what teacher told us to do. We think as the parents told us which way is the best or the correct. We get few critical opinions. If there's a theory about something, we are very easy to follow. As time goes, we get used to follow others instead of creating by ourselves. We got the same opinion. We all do the same things! But actually those are things we don't want to see. Although it seems harmonious on the surface, people in the society are just enduring. Cause they have to give the same answer to the exam. they have to please boss by presents. They can't have his own opinion on certain affairs. Or to say you can't say your opinion to the public. Facing these problems, should we take individuality into consideration ?

So there must be an equilibrium point between the individuality and harmony. So what will be the point? It didn't come up an answer to this question in the conversation. But I just think about it after. I think American usually consider things with units of single person. That is they usually want to max they own profits. That's not mean selfishness. That is if someone need help, that's OK. If not, I would do just to make my life better. While in China, people usually consider things with units of the whole society. That is, Chinese usually nerves about "What will people around me think about my action?" For example there is a man wants to recite English words in the study room with other students around him. He may think whether he would be looked down upon cause the book he carry is just primary one. Yeah that may be ridiculous. But actually it is.

Hence I think why don't people consider things with units of a family ? Since we all have our family. Society are consisted of units of family. What people consider is to max profits of the whole family. Is that will be better? I don't know. It is just an simple idea came in the today morning.

So it just my thought. And a few things may displease you. Just forget about it, cause I didn't give the best representative example.So what do you think of this? Did you find an equilibrium point? Or do you identified with me? Or what's your opinion about this? Let's chat about this.


Professor Afro said...

Mango, I think you made some really smart and interesting comments about the relationship between America and China. I think many Americans, and myself, could benefit thinking about the unit more rather than just thinking about the individual.

Bill Holschuh said...

Your comments are very insightful. I have to agree with Pete -- while individuality in the U.S. is, overall, a definite positive, it can have a downside when carried too far. It can edge into a type of selfishness when people forget that governments are created, at least in theory, for the collective good of the society. I like your concept of the family as "unit" rather than the individual or the society as a whole. I'm not sure, though, how that would translate into practice. Any ideas?

mikelohre said...

James, because I like Art so much, I see a lot of potential and power in the individual, and often that unique and idiosyncratic vision of one person can really take us in new directions. Yet I notice many great artists have a strong social conscience as well, so have in this way made some sort of balance between the group and the self?

lucia said...

Culture is embedded in its people. What I learnt about the difference between Chinese culture and American culture is that it is neither better nor worse to be collective or individual.

I like collectivity since I was born in China, I always ask people "where are you from?" in the first 3 questions when I want to know him. (often after the question "what's your name?")And it is natural for me, since this identity helps me group people. I like to be grouped, that helps me more clearly and easily to identify myself. (or to distinguish people, for example, by their background and custom differences). Collectivism teaches me to be patriotic and understands priority of interests of the society.

I love American people's perspective on individuality. They are very self-centered and try to be different. I always wonder at their individual preference and independence.

I agree with Mike about individualism in artistic things. You need uniqueness and creativity which you may not get if you emphasize on commonness.

So I think neither way of thinking is good or bad, it is just different. I love family as a unit in harmony and I also love to see more individual creations.