Friday, November 5, 2010

East vs West? An interesting link

My mother and my friend Saleha sent me this interesting link. It takes you to a site where you can see art depicting contrasting ways of thinking from East and West. They were made by a Chinese woman who lives in Germany, but may suggest trends in other East/West countries also. They're done in the style that I call "bathroom people" so by their very nature they depict generalizations, and the site makes this clear. Still, very thought-provoking.


  1. The "Queue when Waiting" graphic, that one depends upon the situation, although the Asian graphic shown is very true for people waiting to enter a subway train. :)

    I recommend Richard E. Nisbett's The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently ... and Why. Nisbett's work tends toward the scholarly (he's a professor and has taught at both Yale and Michigan), but it's a very interesting read about the psychology of how Asians and Westerners think. One conclusion I found very interesting is that Westerners living in Asia (and vice versa) tend to modify the way they think to become more like the local population the longer they live in the foreign culture. In essence, people "go native," not necessarily culturally, but cognitively. (Now there's a thought for your science fiction.)

  2. I've waited for that subway train, JDsg! I agree that this varies in specific contexts. Nisbett's book sounds really interesting, and I might go find myself a copy. I'm sure that people tend to modify their thinking the longer they're in a particular cultural environment. Makes perfect sense (and I think you and I have both been there!). Thanks for the story idea suggestion... I'll see what I can do. :)

  3. A very interesting exhibit. I wish I'd been able to see the whole thing. However, your caution is wise because just as there are huge differences between Eastern and Western cultures, not all cultures within the East or West are the same. Some of the Eastern images remind me of parts of South America for example where the invaders were Westerners but many modern aspects show more Eastern tendencies.

    Still, it's a great reminder for how cultures are different and even apparent similarities don't mean the same thing.

    P.S. My Analog is here. Thanks to NaNo I haven't had time to read your story yet, but it's been seen out in the wild :).

  4. Yes, indeed, Margaret. I agree with you. Thanks for the heads-up on your Analog - I hope you enjoy it in between banging out your 50K! There are a lot of good stories in there.