Category Archives: Individualism

WHEN CULTURES CONFLICT

Now a professor in psychology at UCLA studying teaching and learning internationally, Stigler identifies a distinction in the way the East and the West view intellectual struggle. “I think that from very early ages we [in America] see struggle as an indicator that you’re just not very smart. Whereas in Asian cultures they tend to see struggle more as an opportunity.”

Eastern culture treats struggle as part of the learning process, not an omen of the lack of inherent ability. Struggle allows a child to learn tenacity and persistence in solving a problem and achieving a goal, according to Stigler. The West tends to stigmatize struggle as a negative experience, often conditioning children to avoid the hard tasks or to concede too early, “I can’t do it.” Continue reading

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THE MALNOURISHED COMMUNITY

The value of individualism dominates American society. It is like the elephant that fills the room so that all other animals must remain outside or risk being crushed by its unruly weight. We all know that interdependence and community are also values, but they are fed the leftovers from the unhealthy meal of individualism – “only when you really, really, really need help.” Continue reading

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DON’T FALL ALONE

My wife recently observed that you can illustrate almost anything from the classic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.

For example, have you ever noticed how people who are very good in giving support and encouragement to others, tend to suck at allowing other people to support them in personal crises? Their supply of emotional strength and wisdom overflows into the lives of others. When they encounter difficulty, they rely on that supply for themselves, overlooking the value of shared strength. For these super-givers, the proverb, “Two are better one …. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow,” only applies when the other person falls. Continue reading

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